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Med Clin North Am. 2006 Jul;90(4):603-26.

Symptoms, syndromes, and the value of psychiatric diagnostics in patients who have functional somatic disorders.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Half of all outpatient encounters are precipitated by physical complaints, of which one third to one half are medically unexplained symptoms, and 20% to 25% are chronic or recurrent. Many of the patients suffer from one or more discrete symptoms, whereas others have functional somatic syndromes. Individual symptoms and somatic syndromes are associated with impaired quality of life, increased health care use, and diminished patient and provider satisfaction. This article provides an overview of (1) unexplained symptoms and somatization; (2) limitations of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition in classifying somatoform disorders; (3) predictors of psychiatric comorbidity in patients who have physical symptoms; and (4) measurement and management of symptoms.

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