Somatosensory amplification

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Somatosensory amplification (SA) is a tendency to perceive normal somatic and visceral sensations as being relatively intense, disturbing and noxious. It is a common feature of hypochondriasis and is commonly found with fibromyalgia, major depressive disorder, some anxiety disorders, Asperger syndrome, and alexithymia.[1][2][3][4] One common clinical measure of SA is the Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SSAS).

It is unclear whether persons with SA have a truly increased physiological sensitivity to bodily sensations. One study paradoxically found lower levels of SA in hypochondriacs who reported being constantly aware of their own heartbeats.[3] Tentative electroencephalography results tend to indicate SA is more likely due to differences in long-latency cognitive processing, rather than objective physiological differences in sensitivity.[5]

It is not currently known whether SA causes or is caused by any of these conditions, only that they are comorbid conditions. One small study did find that, in patients with depression, SA may be part of the depression (i.e., treating the depression reduced the SA).[1]

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  1. ^ a b Sayar, Kemal; Barsky, Arthur J.; Gulec, Huseyin (2005). "Does Somatosensory Amplification Decrease with Antidepressant Treatment?". Psychosomatics. 46 (4): 340–4. doi:10.1176/appi.psy.46.4.340. PMID 16000677.
  2. ^ Nakao, Mutsuhiro; Barsky, Arthur J.; Kumano, Hiroaki; Kuboki, Tomifusa (2002). "Relationship Between Somatosensory Amplification and Alexithymia in a Japanese Psychosomatic Clinic". Psychosomatics. 43 (1): 55–60. doi:10.1176/appi.psy.43.1.55. PMID 11927759. INIST:13566951.
  3. ^ a b Mailloux, Jennifer; Brener, Jasper (2002). "Somatosensory amplification and its relationship to heartbeat detection ability". Psychosomatic Medicine. 64 (2): 353–7. doi:10.1097/00006842-200203000-00020. PMID 11914453.
  4. ^ Muramatsu, Kumiko; Miyaoka, Hitoshi; Muramatsu, Yoshiyuki; Fuse, Katsuya; Yoshimine, Fumitoshi; Kamijima, Kunitoshi; Gejyo, Fumitake; Sakurai, Koji (2002). "The amplification of somatic symptoms in upper respiratory tract infections". General Hospital Psychiatry. 24 (3): 172–5. doi:10.1016/S0163-8343(02)00177-9. PMID 12062142.
  5. ^ Nakao, Mutsuhiro; Barsky, Arthur J.; Nishikitani, Mariko; Yano, Eiji; Murata, Katsuyuki (2007). "Somatosensory amplification and its relationship to somatosensory, auditory, and visual evoked and event-related potentials (P300)". Neuroscience Letters. 415 (2): 185–9. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2007.01.021. PMID 17267120.