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Somatization is currently defined as "a tendency to experience and communicate somatic distress in response to psychosocial stress and to seek medical help for it"[1].

This can be, but not always, related to a psychological condition such as[2]:

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) have 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, though due to limited medical knowledge in psychiatric medicine, differences of opinion are expected. Most current practitioners will use one over the other, though in cases of borderline diagnoses, both may be referred to.


  1. Lipowski, Z.J. Somatization: the concept and its clinical application. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1988; 145(11):1358-68.
  2. 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.

Further reading

  • Overmier, J. B. (2002). Sensitization, conditioning, and learning: Can they help us understand somatization and disability? Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43, 105-112. Full text

See also

External links

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