Archive Of Standardized Exam Questions: Somatic Symptom Disorder


This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose answer is somatic symptom disorder. While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how somatic symptom disorder will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a tradition question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a disease is quite valuable.


Question # 1

A 24 year old woman comes to the clinic in a very upset state. Fighting through tears she explains that she is “very ill, and has been for the past year”. She has been to many different physicians however she believes all of them are “idiots” and have been unable to diagnose her with any condition despite numerous diagnostic tests. A review of systems reveals that she has abdominal pain, vulvar itching, weakness in her lower extremities, and she also complains of easy fatiguability. The patient also complies of dysuria and pain during sexual intercourse. She explains that these symptoms began a year ago after she was diagnosed with and treated for vaginal candidiasis. She is concerned that the infection may be present despite multiple repeated negative tests. Her boyfriend recently left her as he could no longer stand her focusing on nothing but her symptoms. The patient denies any personal or past family history of psychiatric illnesses. A complete physical exam and laboratory testing is unremarkable and shows no abnormalities. The patient wishes to have another abdominal CT scan (even though a similar scan 2 months ago was negative for any findings). What condition does this patient likely have?

Question # 2

A 25 year old woman comes to the office with abdominal pain that is constant, and has been present for the past 2 years. He also has nausea and complaints of difficulty fastening her pants due to bloating. The patient has had no weight or bowel moment changes. She has been worked up by many physicians, undergone several endoscopies, colonoscopies, and an exploratory laparoscopy, all of which have not found the source of her abdominal pain. The patent has taken a leave of absence form her work as she has not been able to focus on anything other then her physical discomfort. The patient is anxious and frustrated that the doctors she has seen have not been able to give her a clear diagnosis. She pleads for help. Her medical problems include obesity and tension headaches. Her family history is notable for a father who was diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes and colon cancer. Physical exam shows no abnormalities, and an extensive laboratory workup is all negative for any remarkable findings. What is the most likely diagnosis?

Question # 3

A 21-year-old woman comes to the clinic  with many symptoms that involve several organ systems. She has seen five doctors in the past 4 months, and has had seven surgeries to address her complaints over the past 2 years. What is the most likely explanation for this patient’s presentation?


Page Updated: 09.12.2016