Somatization Disorder

Somatization disorder is a chronic condition in which there are numerous physical complaints.

Patients with somatization disorder have the highest incidence of suicide attempts by far, but not the highest incidence of deaths by suicide.

Usually the suicide attempts are overdoses of medications.

The disorder is marked by multiple physical complaints that persist for years, involving any body system.
Most frequently, the complaints involve chronic pain and problems with the digestive system, the nervous system, and the reproductive system.

Somatization disorder is highly stigmatized, and patients are often dismissed by their physicians as having problems that are “all in your head.”
The symptoms are generally severe enough to interfere with work and relationships and lead the person to visit the doctor and even take medication. Somatization disorder is about three to ten times more common among women than men.

There is usually co-morbidity with other psychological disorders particularly mood or anxiety disorders. This condition is chronic and has a poor prognosis.

Counseling or other psychological interventions may help people who are prone to somatization learn other ways of dealing with stresses. This may help reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
The symptoms tend to be uncomfortable and prevent the person from engaging in many enjoyable pursuits, suggesting that the person also suffers feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Somatization disorder tends to fluctuate in severity but persists throughout life.

Complete relief of symptoms for an extended period is rare. It runs in some families.

The disorder usually first develops between the ages of 18 and 30.
More women than men are affected. No one treatment has been found to cure somatization disorder.

Sometimes, an antidepressant medication or other psychiatric medication can provide relief from the physical symptoms that stem from somatization disorder.

Causes of Somatization disorder

The common causes and risk factor’s of Somatization disorder:

  • Psychological problems.
  • Stress often worsens symptoms.
  • Medical illness.

Symptoms of Somatization disorder

Some sign and symptom related to Somatization Disorder are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Pain in the legs or arms.
  • Headaches.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding.

Treatment of Somatization disorder

  • Sometimes, an antidepressant medication or other psychiatric medication can provide relief from the physical symptoms that stem from somatization disorder.
  • Psychotherapy can help the person cope with chronic physical discomfort and understand how to manage it better.
  • Patients with somatization disorder may be helped by a variety of alternative therapies including acupuncture, hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage, and homeopathic treatment.