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Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2010 Apr;19(2):199-209, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2010.01.002.

Unexplained physical complaints.

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Academic Unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Imperial College London St Mary's Campus, London, UK.


Unexplained physical complaints are common in children, and form the basis for childhood somatization (the manifestation of distress through somatic symptoms) and somatoform disorders. Emotional symptoms and anxiety disorders are often comorbid with both unexplained physical symptoms and somatoform disorders. Risk factors include stress sensibility and probably biologic vulnerability in the child, mood and somatization disorders in the family, parental overinvolvement, and possibly limited psychological "mindedness" in relation to physical symptoms. The best evidence of efficacy is for family behavioral cognitive treatments, but for especially severe cases a multidisciplinary, carefully coordinated approach has been found to be clinically helpful.

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