Somatization: the concept and its clinical application

Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Nov;145(11):1358-68. doi: 10.1176/ajp.145.11.1358.


Somatization, a tendency to experience and communicate somatic distress in response to psychosocial stress and to seek medical help for it, poses a major medical, social, and economic problem. It is most often associated with depressive and anxiety disorders and constitutes the core of somatoform disorders. Its persistent form is especially costly and difficult to prevent and manage. The author discusses the prevalence, clinical manifestations, etiology, and treatment of somatization and presents a critical review of somatoform disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Humans
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / etiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy