1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Somatization Disorder

By

Updated April 09, 2014

Definition:

Somatization disorder is a psychiatric condition in which the sufferer experiences multiple physical symptoms that are not explained by disease. It is classified as a "somatoform disorder." According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th Ed., (DSM-IV) diagnosis of somatization disorder has several criteria. These include:

  • A history of somatic symptoms before age 30
  • Four or more separate physical symptoms in different parts of the body
  • One sexual symptom
  • Two gastrointestinal symptoms beyond pain
  • At least one neurological complaint, such as fainting

The disorder can seem similar to hypochondriasis and nosophobia. The difference is that those who suffer from either hypochondriasis or nosophobia are afraid of being sick. Those with somatization disorder experience numerous physical symptoms but are not necessarily afraid of those symptoms.

Examples:
Mark has had numerous physical complaints for years. Medical tests have not found a cause, and Mark's doctor suspects that he may have somatization disorder.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.