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Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Apr;32(4):211-3, 216-9.

Fits, faints and funny turns. Could it be a mental disorder?

Author information

1
Southview Clinic, St. George Private Hospital. hughm@bigpond.net.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients who present to primary care with symptoms of fainting and dizziness, for which there is no adequate physical explanation, are frequently suffering from an undiagnosed psychiatric disorder.

OBJECTIVE:

This article aims to improve the recognition of common mental disorders presenting as 'fits, faints and funny turns' (FFFTs) and to encourage general practitioners to view these disorders as a positive diagnosis in need of treatment.

DISCUSSION:

Psychiatric disorders, particularly panic attacks and depression, are common in the setting of FFFTs and should be a positive diagnosis rather than a diagnosis of exclusion. A detailed description of the episode, with corroborating information from a witness if possible, and psychiatric rating scales can assist in this process. Identifying a physical cause for the episode does not exclude a psychiatric diagnosis and vice versa. Specific psychological and pharmacological therapies are effective for anxiety and depression.

PMID:
12735260
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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