Why do we Somatize?

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Sometimes, people may believe that some ailment is the result of a physical injury or illness, but there are cases where physical symptoms are associated with physiological factors because of a problem or emotional situation that we suffered. This is known as somatization.

To go deeper into this concept, according to GoodTherapy portal, somatization “occurs when psychological concerns are converted into physical symptoms. For example, a person who has just lost a loved one may somaticize their grief through severe fatigue. The prefix “soma” stems from the Greek word for body [1] ”. Then, in a simpler definition: Everyone experiences the mind-body connection all the time [2] .

BC Children’s Hospital affirms that are two types of disorders that describe somatization [3] : First, Somatic Symptom Disorder, when the body experiences symptoms such as headache, nausea, chronic pain, fatigue, abdominal pain. Second, the functional neurological symptom disorder or Conversion Disorder, which presents  neurological symptoms: dizziness or fainting, weakness or paralysis, trouble with speech, memory loss, etc.

According to the Mayo Clinic, It is important that you pay attention to the four warning signs: Specific sensations, such as pain or shortness of breath or more general symptoms, such as fatigue or weakness; symptoms unrelated to any medical cause that can be identified, or related to a medical condition such as cancer or heart disease; symptoms more significant than what’s usually expected; and a single symptom, multiple symptoms or varying symptoms that are, mild, moderate or severe.

Although there is no known cure for this disorder, it does have treatment, which must include physical and emotional management. According to WebMD [4] : “Patients who experience SSD may cling to the belief that their symptoms have an underlying physical cause despite a lack of evidence for a physical explanation. Alternatively, if there is a medical condition causing their symptoms, they may not recognize that the amount of distress they are experiencing or displaying is excessive. Patients may also dismiss any suggestion that psychiatric factors are playing a role in their symptoms.”

Finally, it is important to always pay attention to our feelings or emotions, as well as the indications from our body. We can start by identifying what is happening, trying not to avoid what we feel. Express it; ask for help if necessary, have healthy thoughts, habits, and remember to keep a positive attitude.


 [1] https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/somatization

 [2] https://keltymentalhealth.ca/somatization

 [3 https://keltymentalhealth.ca/somatization

 [4] https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/somatoform-disorders-symptoms-types-treatment

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