Somatization: Background information when reading One Doctor

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

One Doctor

Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine

by Brendan Reilly

One Doctor by Brendan Reilly
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2013, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Suzanne Reeder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Somatization

Print Review

Somatization—the conversion of a mental state (such as depression or anxiety) into physical symptoms—is extraordinarily common, according to Dr. Brendan Reilly, who writes about it (among other health concerns) in his book One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine.

This broad medical term encompasses many illnesses, including recognized "somatic symptom and related disorders" described in the fifth, and most recent, edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Somatization affects women and men of all ages and cultures. It's common for people suffering from somatization to complain, over a period of years, of multiple symptoms that have little or no physical cause, but because they either don't recognize the root origin of their symptoms or because they associate a negative stigma with mental health issues, they tend not to seek help from mental health professionals.

Somatic symptoms include—but aren't limited to—abdominal, back, or chest pain; diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, sexual problems, shortness of breath, palpitations and vision changes. These symptoms can cause considerable distress and may interfere with work and personal relationships.

A panic attack—which the Mayo Clinic defines as a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause—frequently occurs with somatic symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations and chest pain. These symptoms often land people in the hospital, and can be mistaken for heart attacks.

Unfortunately, once a heart attack is ruled out, many doctors tend to minimize the distress of someone having a panic attack—and somatization in general. As a result, a patient may seek help with other health care providers. These visits may lead to unnecessary, perhaps costly tests—and more frustration by the patient, family members, even the practitioner.

Empathy, awareness and understanding can help a doctor's intuition with somatic patients. Diagnosis may involve tests to identify or rule out possible diseases. For treatment, The New York Times Health Guide recommends that patients should have only one primary care provider, to avoid having too many procedures. If a patient is amenable, consulting a mental health professional can also help with the management of symptoms.

Article by Suzanne Reeder

This article was originally published in October 2013, and has been updated for the November 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Noise of Time
    by Julian Barnes
    Confession: I do two terrible – some say unforgivable – things while reading a book. First...
  • Book Jacket
    Smoke
    by Dan Vyleta
    In Dan Vyleta's universe, set in an alternate Victorian England, people engaging in sinful thought ...
  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Necklace
    by Claire McMillan

    For readers of The Nest, the intelligent, intoxicating story of long-simmering family secrets.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.