Somatoform disorders are mental disturbances that are categorized together based on their external symptoms. For a disorder to be categorized as a somatoform disorder, one has to exhibit serious symptoms that interfere with an individual’s relationships or employment. Individuals suffering from this disorder have physical complains that are medical in origin but are not easily explained as physical diseases such as substance abuse or mental disorders. An individual exhibits physical symptoms that suggest injury or physical illness but they cannot be explained fully as a medical condition. When individuals suffering from this disorder undergo medical tests, the results come out normal or do not give any explanation to the symptoms. Many healthy young children show emotional distress like physical pain manifested in form of headaches and stomachaches. These complaints are transient but have no effect on the overall functioning of an individual. They are usually represented in a wide spectrum of severity that range from mild symptoms like stomachaches and headaches to severe symptoms that are disabling such as paralysis or seizures. These disorders can be quite difficult to approach and are not easily understood.
Maj, M. (2005). Somatoform disorders. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.