Somatization Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Somatic Disorder Diagnosis, Somatization Diagnosis, Somatoform Diagnosis, Somatization Syndrome Diagnosis, Somatization Disorders Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How Are Somatization Disorders Diagnosed?

In most cases, individuals suffering from somatization disorders are not fully aware that their main problem is psychological in nature. Doctors usually administer a series of tests and examinations in order to rule out physical symptoms. It is common for a doctor to refer the patient to a specialist even if the individual has a reasonably satisfactory relationship with a single doctor.

A doctor can identify the condition as psychological in nature since somatization disorders are differentiated from other similar mental health disorders through its various symptoms and their tendency to continue for several years.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, the following criteria merits a diagnosis of somatization disorder: 6

  • A history of multiple physical complaints with an onset before the age of 30 years old occurring over a duration of several years resulting in treatment.
  • The condition significantly impairs social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.
  • Diagnostic of somatization disorders should satisfy each of the criteria below and the symptoms must have occurred at any time during the duration of the disturbance.
    • Four pain symptoms: the individual suffering from the disorder should have a history of pain associated with at least four different sites or functions (head, abdomen, extremities, rectum, back, joints, pain associated with the menstrual cycle, during intercourse, or urination).
    • Two gastrointestinal symptoms: there should be previous complaints of at least two gastrointestinal symptoms aside from pain (nausea, vomiting, bloating, intolerance to various foods, diarrhea).
    • One sexual manifestation: there should be a history of one or more sexual or reproductive symptom other than pain. This may include erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction, excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle, or irregular menses.
    • One pseudoneurological symptom: there should be a background of at least one symptom or deficiency indicating a neurological condition not restricted to pain.

Either (1) or (2):

  1. After proper investigation, each of the symptoms in Criterion B cannot be completely explained by a known general medical condition or the direct effects of a substance.
  2. When the symptoms are associated with a general medical condition, the physical symptoms or resulting social or occupational impediments are in excess of expectations based on the history, physical examination, or laboratory results.

  • The symptoms are not deliberately fabricated as in the case of factitious disorder or malingering.

Could You Have Somatization Disorder?

Somatization Disorder Topics

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