Somatising disorders: untangling the pathology.

Louise Ellen Stone, David Murray Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Somatising disorders are a common, complex and disabling cluster of disorders. Research suggests that general practitioners find this group of patients challenging. The disorders are complicated by the fact that doctors play a role in both their aetiology and maintenance. The interaction between the illness worry of the patient and the disease worry of the doctor can lead to escalating disability and the risk of iatrogenic disease. OBJECTIVE: In this article, common conceptual frameworks for somatising disorders are discussed and a framework for managing these complex disorders is presented. DISCUSSION: Patients with somatising disorders need to establish a positive therapeutic relationship with their doctor that encourages open and honest discussion of their illness. General practitioners need to strike a balance between empathy for the patient s suffering and collusion in their disease worry. Excessive intervention and investigation should be avoided. This may require considerable professional support for the doctor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234 - 239
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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