By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is a problem where people have excessive health anxiety. They’re preoccupied with their health and potential problems. The condition is called somatoform disorder.

People with somatoform disorder often overuse the health care system. They’re searching for answers to the causes of conditions which are often in their head. The problem for doctors is figuring out complaints, whether they’re real or imagined, and treating people with dignity and support, while not ordering dozens of unnecessary tests.

Sometimes the symptoms, like abdominal pain or back pain, are a cry for help and a physician who’s on their toes can isolate the problem and make a real difference.

People with somatoform disorder can be helped but it takes a great deal of effort and time.

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