Article

Somatoform Disorders

Karl Julian Looper and Laurence J. Kirmayer

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online April 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0106
Somatoform Disorders

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • History and Systems in Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Around the world, physical symptoms are the most common manifestation of psychological distress. This seeming contradiction presents a diagnostic challenge for health care professionals who are consulted to provide treatment and illness management. In many situations, it is difficult to clearly identify the psychological cause of physical symptoms, and, at times, it is equally difficult to exclude the possibility of an underlying biomedical process. This clinical challenge has led to the construction of the diagnostic category of somatoform disorders, a group of psychiatric disorders characterized by the presence of physical symptoms causing significant distress or functional impairment that cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition, substance use, or any other mental disorder. This category of disorders was established based on clinical utility and the need to exclude medical causes in health care settings rather than on a theoretical model of psychopathology or shared etiology. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association 2000, cited under Classification), the somatoform disorders include somatization disorder, hypochondriasis, body dysmorphic disorder, conversion disorder, pain disorder, undifferentiated somatoform disorder, and somatoform disorder not otherwise specified. Some authors prefer other terminology, including use of the terms medically unexplained symptoms, emphasizing the uncertainty about diagnosis, or functional somatic syndromes, suggesting that symptoms are due to disturbances in the function of psychophysiological systems rather than structural or anatomical pathology.

Article.  9425 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.