An Effective Approach to Somatization Assessment and Management

  • Kyung Bong KohEmail author


Somatization is a process in which there is inappropriate focus on physical symptoms and psychosocial problems are denied [1]. Somatization is highly prevalent in primary care where 20–30 % of patients fulfill criteria for somatoform disorders [2–4] and even more patients may present with medically unexplained symptoms of shorter duration [5]. In a general medical clinic in the USA, 84 % of presentations of common physical symptoms had no identified organic cause [5], and over half of new referrals to a Dutch medical outpatient clinic had symptoms that remained medically unexplained [6]. Despite its high prevalence, somatization often goes unrecognized [3, 7]. Somatizing patients suffer distress for a long time and seek treatment that results in disappointment because a correct diagnosis is not made by physicians. They doctor shop but cannot find a willing physician so they are called “medical orphans” [8]. They often make the complaint that “My symptoms are genuine, but everything is coming back negative” [9].


Physical Symptom Cognitive Therapy Health Anxiety Unexplained Symptom Somatization Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYonsei University College of MedicineSeodaemun-gu, SeoulKorea

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