The psychological significance of somatic complaints.J Fam Pract. 1982 Feb; 14(2):253-9.JF
Patients experiencing psychological distress often come to their physicians with primarily somatic complaints. While patients provide their physicians with multiple clues that there is a functional cause to their complaints, physicians often fail to recognize these. Psychological states, including depression, schizophrenia, hypochondriasis, malingering, conversion reactions, anxiety states, the "identified patient" in a dysfunctional family, and the patient with a "hidden agenda" are examples of this somatization process. Physicians may recognize these problems and avoid needless interventions if they consider these diagnostic possibilities and ask their patients questions that differentiate the various psychological possibilities.