OBJECTIVE: This study attempted to determine the prevalence of somatic
symptoms, somatization disorder, and medical interventions in patients with
dissociative disorders. METHOD: Fourteen psychiatric inpatients with a
DSM-III dissociative disorder were matched for age and gender with a
comparison group of inpatients who reported few dissociative symptoms. All
subjects were interviewed in a blind manner with the Dissociative Disorders
Interview Schedule (this semistructured interview schedule includes a
section on somatization disorder), and their hospital charts were reviewed
to determine somatic symptoms and medical histories. RESULTS: Sixty-four
percent of the patients with dissociative disorders met DSM-III criteria
for somatization disorder and reported an average of 12.4 somatic symptoms.
None of the comparison patients met DSM-III criteria for somatization
disorder, and these patients reported an average of 3.1 somatic symptoms.
These differences between the two groups were significant. Significant
differences were also found in the number of medical hospitalizations and
consultations between the two groups. A significant correlation was found
between the degree of dissociation and degree of somatization in patients
with dissociative disorders. CONCLUSIONS: The authors conclude that
somatization disorder is a frequent and serious comorbid disorder among
patients with dissociative disorders.