Somatic medical disorder is a disorder that is characteristics by symptoms of a non-existing physical illness or injury. The symptoms that the person shows cannot be explained in any general medical condition, or be linked to any substance (Oyama O, Paltoo C, and Greengold J, November 2007). In most cases, the symptoms are linked to another mental disorder as panic.
The diagnostic criteria of somatic disorder present a unique challenge since the symptoms mimic a possible physical illness. However, there is an established general criteria that provide incites to diagnose somatic disorders. These include; a history of various complaints that begins before age 30 years, and occurs for several years. Such complaint leads to seeking medical treatment, and at times may lead to significant impairment. The person may have four pain symptoms from different sites of the body or resulting from different actions. Two gastrointestinal symptoms that are not related to pain, one sexual symptom that is not related to pain, and one pseudo neurological symptom that may go beyond pain. If all these complaints cannot fully be explained using a known general medical criteria, or be connected to certain causative substance, then the person may have somatic symptoms disorder. If the physical signs or the resulting impairment is more than the expected, based on the history of the person, or based on the physical examination, or even laboratory testing, there is possibility that these are somatic symptoms.
Malingering is common with person with somatic symptoms disorder. To establish whether person is not tor is malingering, the practitioner has to pay attention the history of the person, establish all the medical proofs provided, and associated treatment. This makes the practitioner decide whether the previous treatments had an impact. If not, there is high possibility that the person is malingering.
Oyama O, Paltoo C, Greengold J (November 2007). Somatoform disorders. American Family
Physician 76 (9): 1333–8