Sakina Abbas, MBBS1, Aiman Tohid, MD, MPH2, Fauzia Arain, MD3, Sana Javed, MD4, Husnain Cheema, MD5, Faisal Amir, MBBS6, Noman Amjad, MBBS7, Zubair Hassan, MD8, Iqbal Sana, MBBS9

1 Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan 2 University of Southern California, United States of America 3 BronxCare Health System, Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai, Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, New York, United States of America 4 Nishtar Medical University, Multan, Pakistan 5 Punjab Institute of Mental Health, Lahore, Pakistan 6 Institute of Psychiatry &WHO collaborating Center for Research, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan 7 Nishtar Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Multan, Pakistan 8 King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan 9 Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan


Somatization disorder is described as the conscious, increased awareness, and/or perception of unpleasant physiological symptoms. Assessing somatic symptoms can reveal details about a patient’s tendency for seeking medical help, the need for better care coordination, and the psychosocial risk of the child. In this study we assess the challenges in diagnosing and managing Somatization Disorders in children and adolescents.

Material(s) and Method(s):

We searched databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, Medline, Chochrane and APAPsyc by using keywords “Somatization Disorder,” “children” and “adolescents.” We reviewed 57 articles and included 5 in this review. A Survey of children of mean age 14.12 in 18 schools using CSI scores to assess somatization symptoms was reviewed. 1 The Somatic Symptoms Questionnaire, Children’s Depression Inventory, Screen for Child Anxiety-Related Emotional Disorders, SCARED-C, and Socio-demographic information questionnaire were used for children in 13 schools. 2 A review of controlled studies 3 was done and data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study was gathered from interviews of 9-16 year-olds. 4 The study evaluated children age <18 year with unexplained physical symptoms. 5


Boys reported having more somatic complaints which was strongly linked to their aggressive activity, whereas girls reported having more somatic complaints, strongly linked to emotional illness.1.  Stomach ache and general body pain were the most prevalent somatic complaints in children aged 8-10 and 13-16 respectively. 2,3,5 Overall, the prevalence of stomach ache was 2.8% and musculoskeletal pain was 2.2%.4. Although some studies focused on the symptoms of musculoskeletal pains, gastrointestinal complaints, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome, others looked at individual symptoms (e.g., abdominal pain, fatigue).3.


In primary care, there is a lack of research regarding somatization disorder. Future research should focus on the treatment and diagnosis of Somatization Disorder. The findings of this study may serve as a foundation for the creation of crucial problem-solving techniques.