Somatoform disorders were once known as hysteria. Today it is defined as "somatic symptoms in the absence of physical illness". In contrast to psychosomatic disorders, somatoform disorders cannot be linked to an underlying impairment. There is nothing wrong physically, and the symptoms are not made up; the physical problem is very real to the patient. In some cases, the patient reports paralysis in one arm, or the inability to see. In other cases, some patients report several physical symptoms like chronic pain. Increased anxiety is experienced by some regarding excessive worry of contracting a horrible disease, even after tests and the doctor's reassurance tells them they in the clear.
Somatoform disorders a classified in 5 sub-categories. They are: Conversion Disorder, Somatization Disorder, Hypochondriasis, Pain Disorder, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Conversion Disorder is described as the classic type of somatoform disorder. The symptoms often copy neurological diseases and can be dramatic.
Hysterical pregnancy, sudden blindness, or paralysis are examples of conversion symptoms. Although they may resemble a neurological problem, they are distinguishable because the symptoms do not make anatomic sense. The text gives us am example of a patient who complains of numbness that begins in the middle of the face. This does not correspond with the fact that the nerves involved do not divide the face into equal halves. Psychological problems are transformed into physical symptoms; which is the central conjecture of the diagnosis.
Somatization Disorder is a common disorder that is "characterized by a history of multiple, somatic complaints in the absence of organic impairments". In order to receive a diagnosis of somatization disorder, a person must complain of at least 8 physical symptoms. Briefly, theses are: 4 pain symptoms related to 4 different areas, 2 gastrointestinal symptoms other than pain, 1 sexual or reproductive symptom other than pain,