Somatization disorder, also called hysteria, Briquet’s disorder, or somatoform disorder, is a disorder that exhibits itself as physical symptoms or complaints with no substantial underlying physiological problem. Rather, it is a chronic psychological problem.
Signs of somatization disorder can include abdominal pain, back pain, amnesia, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, headaches, irregular or painful menstruation, palpitations, paralysis, shortness of breath, vision changes, vomiting, pain in the legs, and joint pain. Somatization disorder symptoms are not feigned symptoms for a fictitious disorder. These somatization disorder symptoms have been grouped into four major groups:
- Pain symptoms
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Sexual symptoms
- Pseudo-neurological symptoms.
If a chronic or physical cause is not determined or identifiable, the presence of these symptoms is used to establish that the patient suffers from Briquet’s disorder or Somatoform disorder.
Signs of somatization disorder can be severe enough to warrant hospital visits, and may frequently affect the patient’s work and life. Based on various identified somatization disorder symptoms, it is important to first rule out the presence of any physical conditions through clinical evaluation, followed by a psychological test.
Even though no patho-physiological basis for somatoform disorder has been identified, research shows the existence of large gaps between our current understanding of the mind and this condition. The lack of a patho-physiological basis may be attributed to the fact that medical investigations can reveal any substance or drug use, but not factors such as conditions that start after the loss of someone important, or other stress that may manifest as Briquet’s disorder.
Signs of somatization disorder have been found to be more common in people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and chronic pain.
Somatization disorder can be treated using counseling approaches to deal with stress and other psychological interventions. This could also be complemented by medication, as the ultimate therapy goal is to control the symptoms of somatization disorder. Antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy have been identified as being successful in treating this disease. There are four major forms of somatization disorder: conversion disorder or hysteria, hypochondriasis, somatization disorder,
and somatoform pain disorder. Hysteria, found more commonly in women, is often associated with age as it has been identified as starting around the age of thirty.
© Newsmax. All rights reserved.