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Am Fam Physician. 2007 Nov 1;76(9):1333-8.

Somatoform disorders.

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  • 1Family Medicine Residency Program, Morton Plant Mease/University of South Florida, Clearwater, Florida 33755, USA.


The somatoform disorders are a group of psychiatric disorders that cause unexplained physical symptoms. They include somatization disorder (involving multisystem physical symptoms), undifferentiated somatoform disorder (fewer symptoms than somatization disorder), conversion disorder (voluntary motor or sensory function symptoms), pain disorder (pain with strong psychological involvement), hypochondriasis (fear of having a life-threatening illness or condition), body dysmorphic disorder (preoccupation with a real or imagined physical defect), and somatoform disorder not otherwise specified (used when criteria are not dearly met for one of the other somatoform disorders). These disorders should be considered early in the evaluation of patients with unexplained symptoms to prevent unnecessary interventions and testing. Treatment success can be enhanced by discussing the possibility of a somatoform disorder with the patient early in the evaluation process, limiting unnecessary diagnostic and medical treatments, focusing on the management of the disorder rather than its cure, using appropriate medications and psychotherapy for comorbidities, maintaining a psychoeducational and collaborative relationship with patients, and referring patients to mental health professionals when appropriate.

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