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January 2022

Somatization

Author(s): Paar, G. H., Stacker, K. H.

Journal/Book: Psychotherapeut. 1996; 41: 175 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10010. Springer Verlag. 201-214.

Abstract: Somatization means the experience and report of physical symptoms unaccounted for by pathological findings (''medically unexplained somatic symptoms'') and the seeking of medical help for them. In contrast to earlier definitions with their emphasis on psychosocial factors, descriptive definitions are now preferred. Somatization ranges from norm variants to severe pathology. The ICD10 puts very different forms of somatization together in the class of somatoform disorders. It is a question, if whether somatization is better conceived as a process than as a discrete disease entity. Somatization involves three components: on the level of perception, heightened sensibility to bodily sensations (''somatosensory amplification''); on the level of experience, a negative affect with somatic and psychic distress; on the level of behavior, inadequate health care utilization (''abnormal illness behavior''). There are many forms of management and treatment with behavioral, psychodynamic and psychoeducative orientation but there is to date a poor prognosis. The therapeutic relationship seems of particular importance for treatment success.

Note: Review R Kriebel, Gelderland Klin, Fachklin Psychotherapie & Psychosomat, Clemensstr, D-47608 Geldern, Germany

Keyword(s): unexplained symptom; somatoform disorders; amplification; abnormal illness behavior; treatment; SOMATOFORM DISORDERS; PRIMARY CARE; SOMATOSENSORY AMPLIFICATION; PSYCHIATRIC-DISORDERS; SOMATIZING PATIENTS; BODILY COMPLAINTS; COPING STYLES; HYPOCHONDRIASIS; SYMPTOMS; DIAGNOSIS


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