Somatization Disorder F450

Somatization disorder, formerly known as Briquet's syndrome, is by far the most crippling somatoform disorder. Its main features are multiple, recurrent, and frequently changing physical symptoms, which have been present for many years. Most patients have a long and complicated history of contact with both primary and specialist medical care services, during which time many negative investigations have been carried out. These patients have major impairment in social or occupational functioning. Personality disorders, particularly of the passive-dependent and histrionic types, are considerably over-represented compared to control subjects with anxiety and depression.68 The gender ratio of patients with this condition is 5:1, female:male. The prevalence rate has been estimated to be 0.5 percent, but this is probably an underestimate, the true rate is probably higher.69

In practice, the diagnosis of undifferentiated somato-form disorder (F45.1), which has a lower criteria for diagnosis, is found to be much the most frequent diagnosis in standard populations.70,71 This category comprises a raft of heterogeneous conditions in which physical and psychiatric disorders intermingle.

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