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Psychosocial factors and their role in symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease and functional dyspepsia.

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Astra Hässle Research Laboratories, Mölndal, Sweden.


Patients with symptoms of GERD and dyspepsia are among the most common consulters in general practice and are different from their counterparts in the community who choose not to consult although they suffer from similar symptoms. They represent a heterogeneous group with considerable symptom overlap. They have a relatively poor quality of life and endoscopic findings can only explain symptoms in about half of these patients. Thus psychosocial factors which could contribute to their morbidity should be explored. While some studies have methodological shortcomings, main findings are that key psychological factors are anxiety, tension, neuroticism, somatization, fears of malignancy, negative assessment of health, depression, a poor social network and less effective coping strategies. Physical illness is likely to bring on psychological distress due to discomfort or threat of ill health. Cognizance of psychosocial factors will facilitate an understanding of the underlying problems and will improve diagnosis and selection of optimal treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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