Somatization is defined as the production of medical symptoms with no discernable organic cause. Another way to describe it is the tendency to experience psychological distress in the form of somatic symptoms and to seek medical help for these symptoms, which may be initiated and/or perpetuated by emotional responses such as anxiety and depression.
You might think somatization is something that occurs infrequently or in a small subset of people. The evidence says otherwise and I believe it is a massive cause of chronic health issues in the body that are not being addressed appropriately. Somatization is the primary issue I see and treat in people with chronic health issues.
A review of the literature done in 2015 reviewed 32 studies from 24 countries involving a total of 70,085 patients (age range, 15–95 years). What they found was not just a few people reporting somatization symptoms but that ‘at least one medically unexplained symptom was diagnosed in 40–49% of all primary care patients.’ Wow that is a lot of people who are reporting real somatic physical symptoms without a physical organic cause.
It’s crazy to me because how few doctors and healthcare providers are screening for somatization symptoms when the data shows such a high proportion of people reporting such complaints. Not to mention the subsequent inaccurate diagnoses and treatments that are then provided to sufferers. Which then in many cases does not provide relief for the patient.
We need to do better and I am doing my part in raising awareness and treating these conditions and getting people back to health. I do this by targeting the brain and nervous system and the psychological variables that need to be addressed.