Somatization disorder (also Briquet’s disorder or, in antiquity, hysteria) is a psychiatric diagnosis applied to patients who persistently complain of varied physical symptoms that have no identifiable physical origin. The disorder must begin before the patient turns 30 years of age and could last for several years, resulting to either medical seeking behavior or significant treatment. One common generaletiological explanation is that internal psychological conflicts are unconsciously expressed as physical signs. Patients with somatization disorder will typically visit many doctors in pursuit of effective treatment.
Examples of manifestations of Pychosomatic disorder are as such: a child itches in response to family issues, and experiencing repressed anger and/or fear. Thus, The child grows and wakes up itching in the same locations, though not aware of the repressed memory causing the suffering in later life, or the patient is engaged in seeking psychotherapy for somatization.
Somatization disorder is a somatoform disorder. The DSM-IV establishes the following five criteria for the diagnosis of this disorder:
- a history of somatic symptoms prior to the age of 30
- pain in at least four different sites on the body
- two gastrointestinal problems other than pain such as vomiting or diarrhea
- one sexual symptom such as lack of interest or erectile dysfunction
- one pseudoneurological symptom similar to those seen in Conversion disorder such as fainting or blindness.