Somatization

Dissociation and conversion represent the main theoretical precursors to contemporary accounts of the somatoform disorders based on the concept of soma-tization. The term somatization originated in the psychoanalytic literature of the early 19th century as a label for the hypothetical process whereby bodily dysfunction (i.e., unexplained symptoms) was generated by "unconscious neurosis.'' Since the 1960s, however, the work of Zbigniew Lipowski has encouraged many within the field to adopt a more descriptive usage of the term. According to this approach, somatization may be broadly defined as the tendency to experience or express psychological distress as the symptoms of physical illness. Unlike previous approaches, which attempted to identify neuropsychological processes underlying the occurrence of medically unexplained symptoms, the somatization model places explanatory emphasis on the entire biopsychosocial context surrounding the experience of physical and mental illness. In this respect, the somatization model is influenced by the concept of "illness behavior''—th-at is, the way in which we perceive, evaluate, and react to our physical and psychological states in relation to socially sanctioned models of health and illness (the so-called "sick role''). According to this model, individuals suffering from somatoform illness are said to display abnormal illness behavior—that is, a tendency to adopt the sick role that is inappropriate given the absence of identifiable physical pathology. Many features of somatoform illness have been identified as instances of abnormal illness behavior. For example, many somatoform disorder patients dispute the diagnoses they have been given, refuse to accept that they have been investigated adequately, or fail to comply with treatment. Indeed, many such patients are perceived as "difficult" by the treating physician, and the doctor-patient relationship is often less than satisfactory.

The somatization model views the development of abnormal illness behavior as a multifactorial process in which social, cultural, cognitive, perceptual, personality, and physiological factors are all implicated.

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Responses

  • LIYA FIKRU
    Where is somatization originated from?
    7 years ago

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