Somatization in Primary Care

  • Michael A. CucciareEmail author
  • Jason Lillis

What is Somatization?

In health care settings, the term somatization refers to the association between medically unexplained symptoms related to psychological distress and medical help-seeking behavior (Kroenke, Spitzer, & Williams, 2002). Patients presenting with somatization (or somatizers) have been characterized as having physical or medical problems that are physical manifestations of emotional conflicts (O’Donohue, Cummings, Cucciare, Cummings, & Runyan, 2006). Dr. Nicholas Cummings suggests that these emotional conflicts are often unconscious and translated into physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and pain. He further points out that the relationship between physical complaints and emotional problems can vary. For example, some somatizers may experience physical complaints or illness that is primarily the result of emotional problems, whereas others may have a physical illness that is exacerbated by their emotional conflicts (O’Donohue et al., 2006).



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Physical Symptom Cognitive Restructuring Relaxation Training Physical Complaint 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and Stanford University School of MedicineUSA

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