[Medically unexplained and somatoform complaints and disorders in the elderly: a systematic review of the literature].Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2011; 57(2):115-40.ZP
To provide a systematic overview of the research concerning the frequency of medically unexplained, somatoform complaints and disorders in the elderly, their risk factors, comorbidity, course, management in primary and secondary care, and psychotherapy.
We evaluated 248 clinical and randomized trials, reviews, meta-analyses and practice guidelines for adult samples identified from "PubMed" and "PsycInfo" using the search terms "somatoform" OR "medically unexplained" OR "somatization" OR "somatisation" in combination with other terms for their relevance for the elderly. Other relevant trials were identified from the references from these publications.
Medically unexplained, somatoform complaints and disorders occur in older persons and are more frequent in elderly women than in elderly men. Although many studies found no increased frequency of somatoform complaints in the elderly, based on present research we cannot draw final conclusions concerning the frequency of somatoform disorders and complaints in the elderly, and we cannot give evidence based recommendations for their treatment in primary and secondary care and psychotherapy.
This situation results from the special problems encountered in the diagnosis of somatoform complaints and disorders in the elderly, from problems in conceptualisation also found in younger adults, and from the lack of research concerning treatment focussed solely on the old and very old.