Research on Psychosomatic Illnesss

  • News Articles Regarding Psychosomatic Illness

    • Diagnostic Ethics: Harms vs Benefits of Somatic Symptom DisorderHuffington Post Science, Allen Frances, February 2014.

      • Highlights:

        • "There are five possible explanations whenever someone presents to a doctor with physical symptoms that have not yet been diagnosed:

          • The symptoms may be a manifestation of a medical illness that will be readily diagnosed after careful history, physical exam, and lab testing.

          • They may be a manifestation of a medical illness, but one as yet undetermined -- many medical problems remain unclear for long periods of time before accurate diagnosis is made.
          • They may be a manifestation of one of the specific psychiatric disorders typically accompanied by physical symptoms (eg shortness of breath in Panic Disorder, loss of weight in Anorexia Nervosa, fatigue in major depressive disorder).
          • They may be perfectly normal -- it is part of human nature for people sometimes to have nonspecific and transient physical symptoms, especially when under stress.
          • They may a manifestation of what DSM-5 calls Somatic Symptom Disorder -- an exaggerated worry about physical symptoms that has become severe enough to warrant being labelled as mental disorder."
        • "I tried but failed to get the DSM-5 work group to tighten its definition. As it stands, more than a quarter of patients with chronic pain and a sixth of those with cancer will qualify for a DSM-5 SSD diagnosis. This makes no sense and has stirred appropriate outrage from patients and advocacy groups."
        • "The DSM-5 damage is done and will not be quickly undone. The arena now shifts to the International Classification of Diseases 11 which is currently being prepared by the World Health Organization and is due to be published in 2016. The open question is whether ICD 11 will mindlessly repeat the mistakes of DSM-5 or will it correct them?"
        • "There is abundant evidence that this kind of error is already causing grave problems across several different medical diagnoses. According to a survey by the American Autoimmune-Related Disease Association, a staggering forty-five percent of autoimmune disease patients report having been denied medical care because doctors mistakenly diagnosed their symptoms as somatoform."
        • "A recent informal survey by the National Organisation for Rare Disorders revealed that the majority of rare disease patients spend at least three years suffering in search of diagnosis. If rare disease were actually rare this figure might not be so disturbing, but there are tens of millions such patients in the US. Most of them fit your guidelines for BDD during their long diagnostic delay, as they repeatedly seek relief for unexplained symptoms that do eventually turn out to have medical causes."
        • "Current diagnostic advice for general practitioners is inappropriate. The American Association of Family Physicians urges doctors to make early diagnoses of somatoform disorders in order to save time and to reduce costs. This is based on the common notion that somewhere between 25-75% of their patients' symptoms are somatoform. Any diagnosis that could conceivably be misapplied to so many patients demands extraordinary caution in definition and application."
  • Scholarly Research Regarding Psychosomatic Illness

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