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Prevalence of somatoform disorders in a psychiatric population: an Italian nationwide survey

  • A. C. Altamura
  • M. G. Carta
  • G. Tacchini
  • A. Musazzi
  • M. R. Pioli
  • the Italian Collaborative Group on Somatoform Disorders
Original paper

Abstract

The survey involved 50 centres comprising both hospital and community psychiatric care services throughout Italy. Overall, 2620 patients were recruited, and of those 2002 (76%) completed the Somatoform Disorders Schedule (SDS), a CIDI-derived interview. The NOS somatoform disorders (SDs) diagnosis appeared to be the most common (60%) (and they showed the highest number of co-morbid diagnoses), followed by pain disorders (8%). The prevalence of undifferentiated somatoform and hypochondriactal disorders was 1.6%: older age groups showed a tendency towards higher rates of the latter. In general, the study found that a significant percentage of patients with SDs are referred to psychiatric services, but mainly because of other psychopathological problems: in fact, somatic complaints are cross-sectionally present in different psychiatric nosological categories. This study also emphasizes some limitations of the current classification of SDs.

Key words Somatoform disorders Epidemiology Co-morbidity Somatoform Disorders Schedule 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. C. Altamura
    • 1
  • M. G. Carta
    • 2
  • G. Tacchini
    • 3
  • A. Musazzi
    • 3
  • M. R. Pioli
    • 4
  • the Italian Collaborative Group on Somatoform Disorders
  1. 1.Institute of Psychiatry, University of Milan, Ospedale “L. Sacco”, Via G. B. Grassi 74, I-20157 Milan, ItalyIT
  2. 2.Institute of Psychiatry, University of Cagliari, Via Liguria 13, I-90127 Cagliari, ItalyIT
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Policlinico, Via F. Sforza 35, I-20122 Milan, ItalyIT
  4. 4.IRCCS, Centro S. Giovanni di Dio-Fatebenefratelli, Via Pilastroni 4, I-25125 Brescia, ItalyIT

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