Review: Somatization in the elderly.

Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.09). 12/1999; 14(12):1044-9. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1166(199912)14:123.0.CO;2-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Somatization is a common medical problem encountered at all levels of medical care. It is strongly associated with use of services and may be difficult to treat. Somatization in the elderly has been traditionally seen as a masked presentation of depression. Population studies have shown no consistent increase in somatization among the elderly, and the elderly may down-play physical symptoms. Among the elderly depressed, somatization is common and may be commoner if physical illness is also present. Psychological distress is usually acknowledged, not masked, in the elderly depressed. Neuroticism, as well as psychiatric illness, may be an important aetiological factor for somatization in the elderly. Treatment strategies must attend to underlying psychiatric disorders, but there is a need for studies of treatment of the phenomenon in the elderly.

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