Somatoform disorders include several mental health disorders. In some, people report physical symptoms or concerns that suggest but are not fully explained by a physical disorder. In one, people are preoccupied with a slight or nonexistent defect in appearance. These symptoms or concerns are considered disorders if they cause significant distress or interfere with daily functioning.
Somatoform disorder refers to what many people used to call a psychosomatic disorder. In somatoform disorders, the physical symptoms cannot be fully explained by any underlying physical disorder. People with a somatoform disorder are not faking. They sincerely believe that they have a serious physical problem.
The somatoform disorders include body dysmorphic disorder, conversion disorder, hypochondriasis, somatization disorder, and pain disorder (see Pain: Psychogenic Pain). Children are also affected (see Mental Health Disorders in Children: Somatoform Disorders in Children). Treatment varies according to which somatoform disorder a person has.
Last full review/revision June 2008 by Katharine A. Phillips, MD