Somatization is a tendency to experience and communicate psychological distress in the form of somatic symptoms and to seek medical help for them. More commonly expressed, it is the generation of physical symptoms of a psychiatric condition such as anxiety. The term somatization was introduced by Wilhelm Stekel in 1924.
Related psychological conditions
Somatization can be, but is not always, related to a psychological condition such as:
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has classified somatoform disorders in the DSM-IV and the World Health Organization (WHO) have classified these in the ICD-10. Both classification systems use similar criteria. Most current practitioners will use one over the other, though in cases of borderline diagnoses, both systems may be referred to. In spite of extensive research over the last 20 years, researchers are still perplexed by somatoform disorders.
While it is normal for stresses and strains in a child's life to be expressed in bodily pains/upsets, there is evidence that children in families where bodily complaints receive special attention are significantly more likely to use somatization as a defence in later life.
Current treatment for somatization includes cognitive behavioral therapy, psychosocial interventions, and psychoanalysis. There is also a research work done by Acharya Balkrishna and his team on Somatization and other stress related problem and their cure through Ayurveda and yoga.
Virginia Woolf's mental and emotional difficulties were often expressed directly in physical symptoms: "Such 'sensations' spread over my spine & head...the horror – physically like a painful wave about the heart".
- Lipowski ZJ (1988). "Somatization: the concept and its clinical application". Am J Psychiatry. 145 (11): 1358–68. PMID 3056044.
- Adriana Feder, M.D. Somatization
- R. L. Woolfolk/L. A. Allen, Treating Somatization (2006) p. 5
- P. S. Sutker/H. E. Adams, Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology (2001) p. 217
- Woolfolk/Allen, pp. 14–5
- Smith RC, Gardiner JC, Lyles JS, et al. (2005). "Exploration of DSM-IV criteria in primary care patients with medically unexplained symptoms". Psychosomatic Medicine. 67 (1): 123–9. PMC . PMID 15673634. doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000149279.10978.3e.
- Antai-Otong, D, (2008), Psychiatric Nursing Biological and Beahvioural Concepts, 2nd ed, Delmar, New York
- P. S. Sutker/H. E. Adams, Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology (2001) p. 216
- Gupta, Deepti; Perez Edgar (Jan 2012). "The role of temperament in somatic complaints among young female adults". Journal of Health Psychology. 17 (1). doi:10.1177/1359105311405351.
- D. W. Winnicott, The Child, the Family, and the Outside World (1973) p. 129
- Woolfolk/Allen, p. 217
- Woolfolk, pp. 41–3
- Telles S, Singh N, Yadav A, Balkrishna A (2012). "Effect of yoga on different aspects of mental health". Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 56 (3): 245–254. PMID 23734439.
- Quoted in Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf (1996) p. 187