Last reviewed 01/2018
Somatization disorder is a specific syndrome characterised by:
- multiple somatic complaints
- no organic pathology
- no autonomic overstimulation
- symptoms which have persisted for several years
Onset of a somatization disorder is usually before the age of 30. Thereafter it runs a chronic course with repeated recurrences of symptoms.
The syndrome is also referred to as multiple somatization disorder, St. Louis Hysteria and Briquet's syndrome.
The syndrome was named after Briquet by a group in St. Louis, USA. Briquet was a French physician who in 1859 wrote an influential monograph on hysteria.
- pharmacotherapy with serotonin-reuptake inhibitors appears to be effective for patients with the obsessional cluster of somatoform disorders (1)
- cognitive behaviour therapy be of benefit in patients with somatization disorder (2)
- Fallon BA. Pharmacotherapy of somatoform disorders. J Psychosom Res. 2004 Apr;56(4):455-60.
- Allen LA et al. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for somatization disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jul 24;166(14):1512-8
- Kendell, R. E. Hysteria, somatization and the sick role. Medicine International. 1991;95: 3945.