Review: Somatization in the elderly

Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.87). 12/1999; 14(12):1044-9. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1166(199912)14:12<1044::AID-GPS55>3.0.CO;2-0
Source: PubMed


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.

1 Follower
18 Reads
  • Source
    • "These somatic symptoms are ubiquitous across studies, although there are some geographical differences in the specific characteristics and proportions (Gureje et al., 1997). These symptoms are considered to be associated with comorbid physical illnesses and disability, and are usually concomitant with aging (Sheehan and Banerjee, 1999). Depressive symptoms are closely related to functional somatic symptoms. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: IntroductionOlder adults commonly experience somatic symptoms, and those who do are more likely to have depressive disorders as well. Our goal in this study is to examine the influence of the number and severity of somatic symptoms on the severity of depressive symptoms, including suicidality, in elderly adults. Methods This study was conducted as part of the Ansan Geriatric (AGE) Study, a community-based cohort study in Ansan City, South Korea. A total of 3,210 elderly adults aged 60 years or over (1,388 males and 1,770 females) participated in this study. The Korean version of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to measure depressive symptoms and suicidality. Somatic symptoms were assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (PHQ-15). ResultsBoth mild and severe somatic symptoms significantly increased the risk for severe depression and high suicidality. Severe somatic symptoms doubled the risk for severe depression and suicidal intent. DiscussionSomatic symptoms not fully explained as medical illnesses are closely associated with late-life depression, even after adjustments for comorbid physical illnesses and other confounding factors. The presence of somatic symptoms concurrent with, but not fully explained by comorbid physical illness or disability, seems to be an independent marker for predicting the severity of late-life depression and suicidality.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Asia-Pacific Psychiatry
    • "To our knowledge, only two reviews have published on somatoform disorders in the elderly specifically (Sheehan and Banerjee, 1999; Schneider and Heuft, 2011). The review by Sheehan and Banerjee (1999) was conducted before the majority of epidemiological studies on the prevalence of somatoform disorder in later life have been published. Nevertheless, these authors concluded that somatization disorder in itself is rare in the older population , but that clinically relevant somatization occurs frequently. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To review current knowledge regarding the prevalence of somatization problems in later life by level of caseness (somatoform disorders and medically unexplained symptoms, MUS) and to compare these rates with those in middle-aged and younger age groups. METHOD: A systematic search of the literature published from 1966 onwards was conducted in the Pubmed and EMBASE databases. RESULTS: Overall 8 articles, describing a total of 7 cohorts, provided data of at least one prevalence rate for somatoform disorders or MUS for the middle-aged (50-65 years) or older age (≥65 years) group. Prevalence rates for somatoform disorders in the general population range from 11 to 21% in younger, 10 to 20% in the middle-aged, and 1.5 to 13% in the older age groups. Prevalence rates for MUS show wider ranges, of respectively 1.6-70%, 2.4-87%, and 4.6-18%, in the younger, middle, and older age groups, which could be explained by the use of different instruments as well as lack of consensus in defining MUS. CONCLUSION: Somatoform disorders and MUS are common in later life, although the available data suggest that prevalence rates decline after the age of 65 years. More systematic research with special focus on the older population is needed to understand this age-related decline in prevalence rates.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Ageing research reviews
  • Source
    • "For example , the geriatri - cian may fail to recognize depression among patients with osteoarticular diseases who complain about bone and joint pain , although the pain associated with this common degenerative disorder may be increased by depression . Moreover , physi - cians are probably not sufficiently aware of the fact that older patients with depression often present somatic complaints ( Sheehan & Banerjee , 1999 ) in that they think somatic symptoms may be the result of the physical illness itself . Furthermore , depres - sive symptoms may be present covertly , in particular with psychosomatic symptoms or with hypochon - dria , which may lead to confusion with the coexisting illness . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Odds of major depression have significantly increased among adults with chronic diseases. However, the diagnosis of depression is often unrecognized in China. To know the prevalence of depression in medical inpatients with different chronic diseases and to assess the level of unrecognized depression among hospitalized patients, we assessed depression in patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic pulmonary heart disease. In this study, it has been shown that 78.9% of patients with pulmonary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, or coronary heart disease have different levels of depression. There were no significant differences in incidence of depression among different gender, age, education levels, marital status, or course of disease. There were no significant differences in total incidence rate of depression and in incidence rate of different levels of depression among the three groups of patients. It is very important to help patients with chronic diseases to reduce their depression by psychological nursing after evaluating their mental status.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2008 · Archives of Psychiatric Nursing
Show more