Definition

Somatization disorder is a chronic and debilitating illness characterized by the presence of multiple somatic complaints that cannot be adequately explained on the basis of physical or laboratory investigations (see Table 8-1). The combination and number of pain, gastrointestinal, sexual/reproductive, and pseudoneurological symptoms required over a several-year time period and the inclusion of criteria that are appropriate only for postpubertal and/or sexually active patients mitigate against the diagnosis of somatization disorder in childhood and adolescence (DeMaso and Beasley 2005). As a result, this disorder has likely been underdiagnosed in pediatric patients, leading to suggestions for the development of revised criteria for children and adolescents (Fritz et al. 1997).

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