Somatization Disorder-Minhyo Moon

Classification: Somatization Disorder can be classified as an Anxiety Disorder

Definition: Somatization disorder is a long-term (chronic) condition in which a person has physical symptoms that are caused by psychological problems, and no physical problem can be found. For example, a patient will continuously go meet many doctors to be diagnosed of certain physical problem they feel like they have, but in reality does not have. Normally, a person suffering with Somatization Disorder has had these physical complaints before he/she were 30, seeking for treatment for these symptoms that seem like problems. Also the disorder is more found in women than in men.


PAIN SYMPTOMS: Feeling pain at body parts such as head, abdomen, back, joints, extremities, chest or rectum, or related to body functions such as menstruation, sexual intercourse or urination.
GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS: nausea, bloating, vomiting (not during pregnancy), diarrhea, intolerance of several foods.
(3)SEXUAL SYMPTOMS: indifference to sex, having difficult time to become erect or sexually motivated; excessive bleeding during menstrual cycle is also a symptom
PSEUDONEUROLOGICAL SYMPTOMS: including impaired balance or coordination, weak or paralyzed muscles, lump in throat or trouble swallowing, loss of voice, retention of urine, hallucinations, numbness

The cause is not specific but symptoms begin or worsen after losses (for example, job, close relative, or friend).

The goal of treatment is to help you learn to control your symptoms. There is often a mood disorder, which may respond to antidepressant medications, but the Somatization disorder itself cannot be cured without further investigation of the disorder. Having a supportive relationship with a sympathetic health care provider is the most important part of treatment. Regularly schedule appointments to review your symptoms and coping mechanisms. The health care provider should explain any test results. Also, you should never be told that your symptoms are an imagery.

Case Study:

Albert Yeung

Mr. YEUNG, a 68-year-old married Chinese man who is a retired cook, reportssleep disturbances with irritability and loss of appetile for the past 6months. He has frequent headaches, dizziness, and a sensation of tightness inthe chest.
Three weeks before this visit, he had several episodes of chest pain andwent to the local hospital, where he was admitted for a medical evaluation.Results of all investigations, including tests for ischemic heart disease,were normal. He was referred for psychiatric consultation.
Despite sensitive probing by the psychiatrist, Mr. Yeung denies symptoms ofanxiety and depression. He has no history of psychiatric or physicalillness.

As shown here, Mr Yeung can only identify where it hurts and so on, but does not realize there are no actual physical change within his body.

Related Disorder:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Bricquet's Disorder
Munchasen Disorder
Somatofoam Disorder

Additional Links:

8. - Grey Thinking

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