Skip to content

Somatic Presentations of Mental Disorders

Refining the Research Agenda for DSM-V

Edited by Joel E. Dimsdale, M.D., F.A.P.M., Yu Xin, M.D., Arthur Kleinman, M.D., Vikram Patel, Ph.D., William E. Narrow, M.D., M.P.H., Paul J. Sirovatka, M.S., and Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H.

  • ISBN 978-0-89042-342-4
  • Item #2342

View Pricing

List Price

APA Members

20% off

APA Resident-Fellow Members

25% off

Buying In Canada or Europe?


Sometimes described as the nemesis of the primary care physician, somatoform disorders are frustrating, expensive to treat, and under-investigated. Somatic Presentations of Mental Disorders provides a fascinating and practical review of the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of this ill-defined category of disease.

Somatic Presentations of Mental Disorders summarizes the proceedings of a unique international conference that convened experts from across disciplines to review perspectives on somatoform disorders. The broad range of experience and specialization results in a compendium that addresses both theoretical and practical issues presented in somatoform disorders. For the researcher, the book offers a thorough and critical overview of the research landscape, surveying and synthesizing the available literature from around the world on all aspects of the disorder. Acknowledging the unique challenges presented in studying such a heterogeneous collection of disorders, the authors identify specific gaps in the research literature. Somatic Presentations of Mental Disorders also addresses controversial issues of nosology in advance of the publication of DSM-V.

Despite its utility for researchers, the book primarily serves as an invaluable reference and resource for the practitioner. Organized with the clinician in mind, Somatic Presentations of Mental Disorders surveys the latest data on phenomenology; etiology and clinical course; and treatment options. Unlike other literature on this difficult topic, the authors thoroughly explore the entire range of this category of disorders, including conversion disorder, chronic pain and fatigue, and the multitude of presentations of medically unexplained symptoms. Aimed at both primary care and mental health practitioners, the book addresses crucial issues for effective diagnosis and treatment, including:

  • Comorbidity and association with anxiety and depressive disorders
  • Unique insights into cultural factors affecting the presentation and treatment of somatic disorders around the globe
  • The prevalence of misdiagnosis, and contemporary diagnostic tools and techniques to help avoid a missed organic diagnosis
  • The complicated interrelationship of somatoform disorders and substance abuse
  • The efficacy of various treatment modalities, including pharmacology and cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Collaboration between primary care and mental health providers to maximize treatment outcomes

Comprehensive, thoughtful, and up-to-date, Somatic Presentations of Mental Disorders is a must-have both for researchers in the field and for clinicians with somatizing patients.


  • Contributors
  • Disclosure Statement
  • Foreword
  • Evolution of psychosomatic diagnosis in DSM
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Epidemiology of the association between somatoform disorders and anxiety and depressive disorders
  • Chapter 2. The association or otherwise of the functional somatic syndromes
  • Chapter 3. Cultural models and somatic syndromes
  • Chapter 4. Influence of cultural and social factors on the epidemiology of idiopathic somatic complaints and syndromes
  • Chapter 5. Are somatoform disorders changing with time?
  • Chapter 6. A biological substrate for somatoform disorders
  • Chapter 7. Somatoform and substance use disorders
  • Chapter 8. Stability of somatoform symptoms
  • Chapter 9. What is the evidence for the efficacy of treatments for somatoform disorders?
  • Chapter 10. Are treatments for common mental disorders also effective for functional symptoms and disorder?
  • Chapter 11. Efficacy of treatment of somatoform disorders
  • Chapter 12. The evidence for treatments for somatoform disorders
  • Index


    Ricardo Araya, Ph.D.
    Robert Dantzer, D.V.M., Ph.D.
    Joel E. Dimsdale, M.D.
    Javier I. Escobar, M.D., M.S.
    Oye Gureje, Ph.D., D.Sc., FRCPsych
    Deborah Hasin, Ph.D.
    Richard A.A. Kanaan, MRCPsych
    Hila Katz, B.A.
    Laurence J. Kirmayer, M.D.
    Arthur Kleinman, M.D.
    Kurt Kroenke, M.D.
    Sing Lee, FRCPsych
    Jean Pierre Lepine, M.D.
    Susan Levenstein, M.D.
    Roselind Lieb, Ph.D.
    Richard Mayou, B.M., FRCPsych, FRCP
    Gunther Meinlschmidt, Ph.D.
    Donald Oken, M.D.
    Vikram Patel, M.B.
    Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H.
    Winfried Rief, Ph.D.
    Graciela Rojas, M.D.
    Norman Sartorius, M.D., Ph.D.
    Athula Sumathipala, M.B.B.S., D.F.M., M.D., MRCPsych, Ph.D
    Simon C. Wessely, FRCPsych
    Yu Xin, M.D.

About the Authors

Joel E. Dimsdale, M.D., is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego in San Diego, California.

Yu Xin, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at the Peking University Institute of Mental Health in Beijing, China.

Arthur Kleinman, M.D., is the Victor and William Fung Director of Harvard University Asia Center; the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University; and Professor of Medical Anthropology and Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Vikram Patel, Ph.D., is Professor of International Mental Health and Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in London, England.

William E. Narrow, M.D., M.P.H., is Associate Director of the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and of the Division of Research of the American Psychiatric Association in Arlington, Virginia.

Paul J. Sirovatka, M.S., was Director of Research Policy Analysis at the Division of Research and American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education at the American Psychiatric Association in Arlington, Virginia.

Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H., is Executive Director of the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education and Director of Division of Research at the American Psychiatric Association in Arlington, Virginia.

Somatic idioms for psychosocial problems, present a difficult clinical task for psychiatric physicians. This volume is essential reading for anyone who treats such patients who stand at the interface between psychiatry and other medical specialties. It reviews the cultural, diagnostic and clinical challenges for such problems and how to proceed as DSM-V attempts to improve the Somatoform Disorders Section from previous iterations.—Thomas N. Wise, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

This volume makes a very significant contribution to the literature. It is a wide-ranging and provocative examination of an important and previously neglected group of disorder.—Arthur J. Barsky M.D., Director of Psychiatric Research, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Related Products

Become an APA Member
Join Now