Somatization Psychology

Somatization Psychology

Somatization disorder has been known for a long time and is diagnosed in patients who chronically and persistently complain of physical symptoms that, despite performing all the pertinent tests, are not found of any type of physical origin. That is, it is the expression of mental phenomena in the form of physical symptoms that can develop unconsciously and involuntarily or consciously and voluntarily.

People diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder and its related disorders are characterized by physical symptoms associated with thoughts, sensations. These disorders are distressing and very often can interfere with the patient’s life both socially, professionally or academically.

It should not be confused with simulation cases in which it is intentionally faked in order to obtain external benefits such as sick leave, avoid legal action or disability payments. If the motivation is an external incentive, it is in no way a somatization.

Somatizations can be of two types, acute or chronic. The acute ones occur in people with a normal personality and level of adaptation who, due to stress, begin to present somatic symptoms. Precisely these people need adequate medical attention so as not to chronify their situation. On the other hand, chronic somatizations usually occur in patients with an unsatisfactory level of adaptation and with frequent personality problems. They usually have unapplied physical symptoms that render them incapacitated for a minimum of six months.

This somatization has three components. An experiential one that has to do with the symptoms that the person experiences and that lives from suffering. Another cognitive one that has to do, precisely, with that experience, that is, with the way in which the patient interprets somatization as a threatening disease that is not detected. Finally, there is a behavioral aspect, consisting of the persistent search for a diagnosis and treatment. Hence, people with this disorder usually have an extensive medical history in which different diagnostic tests occur.


  • Presents various vague and ill-defined symptoms
  • Symptoms are expressed with disproportionate concern
  • Existence of stressors
  • Associated presence of anxiety or depression
  • The symptoms are experienced with great concern and suffering
  • Fluctuating symptoms
  • Latent anguish
  • Attention seeking

Common symptoms

  • Asthenia and tiredness
  • Generalized pain or neck pain
  • Gas, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Dizziness, headaches, muscle weakness
  • Itching, itching, eczema
  • Vision disturbance
  • Gait disturbance
  • Palpitations, chest pain
  • Feeling short of breath

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