Epidemiology

The lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV-TR somatiza-tion disorder in adults is estimated to be between 0.2% and 2% for women and less than 0.2% for men (American Psychiatric Association 2000). Women with somatization disorder generally outnumber men by 5-20 times. This disorder is more commonly observed in families in which a relative has somati-zation disorder and in children who have been exposed to sexual abuse. Adults with this diagnosis often date the onset of their symptoms to adolescence. Surveys examining somatic complaints in childhood and adolescence have identified polysymptomatic "somatizers" (Campo and Fritsch 1994). Although Offord et al. (1987) reported that 11% of girls and 4% of boys ages 12-16 years endorsed recurrent and distressing somatic symptoms, Garber et al. (1991) found that only 1.1% of 547 school-age children met diagnostic criteria for this disorder.

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