in psychiatry, the conversion of mental experiences or states into bodily symptoms.
a somatoform disorder
characterized by multiple vague, recurring somatic complaints that cannot be fully explained by any known general medical condition or the direct effect of a chemical substance, but are not intentionally feigned or produced; it usually begins before age 30 and persists for several years. The patient may simply complain of being ill or may have specific symptoms, but the complaints will include a combination of at least multiple pain symptoms, multiple gastrointestinal symptoms, a sexual symptom, and a neurological symptom. Typical complaints include double vision, fainting, abdominal pain, bowel problems, painful menstruation, and sexual indifference. The complaints are often presented in a dramatic and exaggerated manner, but the patient is vague about their exact nature. The patient may visit many health care providers, sometimes several simultaneously, and undergo numerous diagnostic procedures, unnecessary treatments, and even surgery. Most such patients are anxious and depressed and have difficulty in personal relationships; many have traits of histrionic personality disorder
. They are seldom free of symptoms in spite of frequent medical attention; in fact, the repeated, unnecessary diagnostic procedures or surgery may only add to their suffering. The outlook for these patients is poor. Called also Briquet's syndrome