Diagnostic Criteria

A. One or more physical complaints (e.g., fatigue, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal or urinary complaints).

B. Either (1) or (2):

  1. after appropriate investigation, the symptoms cannot be fully explained by a known general medical condition or the direct effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication)
  2. when there is a related general medical condition, the physical complaints or resulting social or occupational impairment is in excess of what would be expected from the history, physical examination, or laboratory findings

C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The duration of the disturbance is at least 6 months.

E. The disturbance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., another Somatoform Disorder, Sexual Dysfunction, Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Sleep Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder).

F. The symptom is not intentionally produced or feigned (as in Factitious Disorder or Malingering).

Differential Diagnosis

For more information, see Somatization Disorder

Somatization Disorder and Somatoform Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Undifferentiated Somatoform Disorder is differentiated from Somatization Disorder by the requirement in Somatization Disorder of a multiplicity of symptoms of several years' duration and an onset before age 30 years. Individuals with Somatization Disorder are typically inconsistent historians, so that at one evaluation they may report many symptoms that fulfill criteria for Somatization Disorder, whereas at another time they may report many fewer symptoms that fail to meet full criteria. If the physical complaints have persisted for less than 6 months, a diagnosis of Somatoform Disorder Not Otherwise Specified should be made.

Other mental disorders

Undifferentiated Somatoform Disorder is not diagnosed if the symptoms are better accounted for by another mental disorder. Other mental disorders that frequently include unexplained physical complaints are Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and Adjustment Disorder.

Factitious Disorders and Malingering

In contrast to Undifferentiated Somatoform Disorder, the physical symptoms of Factitious Disorders and Malingering are intentionally produced or feigned. In Factitious Disorder, the motivation is to assume the sick role and to obtain medical evaluation and treatment, whereas in Malingering, more external incentives are apparent, such as financial compensation, avoidance of duty, evasion of criminal prosecution, or obtaining drugs.


See Somatic Symptom Disorder

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