Historical European concepts of the nature and causes of physical symptoms without clear explanation have caused considerable confusion. This chapter argues that, in recent years, there has been increasing awareness of the need for a broader approach based on understanding all unexplained symptoms in a general population and all medical settings. Aetiology should be viewed as an interaction of physical, psychological, and social factors. Current definitions of somatoform disorders are unhelpful and need to be revised in a manner not based on mind/body separation. There have been major advances in showing the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of treatments.
KeywordsIrritable Bowel Syndrome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Personality Disorder Somatic Symptom Health Anxiety
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