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When you seek medical attention from a North Adams practitioner, you do so anticipating that he or she will be able to pinpoint the physiological cause of your symptoms. Yet what if your doctor returns to you with no answers, or worse yet, a suggestion that “it’s all in your head?”

Could he or she be right? Certain mental illnesses called somatoform disorders are believed to manifest themselves through physical symptoms such as unexplained pain, gastrointestinal issues, and neurological deficits. Such a diagnosis is often put forth in those cases where diagnostic testing fails to reveal a common medical cause of one’s symptoms.

Yet how accurate is a diagnosis of somatoform disorder? According to information shared by the American Academy of Family Physicians, as many as 50 percent of cases where patients present with physical symptoms can’t be classified with a concrete medical diagnosis. Yet not all of these cases are proven to be due to somatoform disorders. When presented with this situation, you’re left in a difficult position. One the one hand, you no doubt want to trust in your doctor. Yet conversely, you should also remember that he or she is not always right.

So how are you to know whether your problem really is “all in your head” or whether or not your doctor is abandoning the diagnostic process too quickly? Here are some steps you can take:

  •          Research your symptoms for other possible medical diagnoses
  •          Go online looking for chat or support groups comprised of others who share your symptoms to see if any of them were able to identify a medical cause
  •          Seek a second opinion from another doctor

Being an active participant in your diagnosis and care may end up helping save you from a failure to diagnose your condition by your doctor.