The prevalence of somatoform disorders among internal medical inpatients

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Apr;56(4):413-8. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00624-X.


Objective: To find the prevalence of somatoform disorders (SDs) among internal medical inpatients and to study the comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders.

Methods: Of 392 eligible consecutive medical inpatients, 294 (75%) accepted to participate and, using a two-phase design, were assessed for ICD and DSM-IV somatoform diagnoses and for ICD-10 psychiatric diagnoses.

Results: A total of 18.1% (95% CI: 12.8-24.9%) of the patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for an ICD-10 disorder, and 20.2% (95% CI:14.7-27.2% ) for a DSM-IV SD. The prevalence of specified disorders revealed marked differences between the two diagnostic systems, e.g., concerning somatisation disorder (SD), which was more prevalent in the ICD-10 (5%) than in the DSM-IV (1.5%) equivalent. Quite the contrary was found in undifferentiated SD (0.7% in ICD-10 and 10% in DSM-IV). According to ICD-10 criteria, 3.5% had hypochondriasis, 2.6% a dissociative disorder, 3.2% a somatoform autonomic dysfunction, 1.5% had neurasthenia or persistent somatoform pain disorder, and 5% had an SD, unspecified. SDs were more prevalent among younger females. Thirty-six percent of the patients with SDs also had another psychiatric disorder, 11% a depression, and 25% an anxiety disorder. The physicians detected about 1/3 of the cases.

Conclusion: Somatoform disorders were prevalent among internal medical inpatients especially among younger women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / rehabilitation*