Purpose of review: Patients with medically unexplained symptoms continue to intrigue, fascinate and frustrate clinicians. They are common in general medicine and often present with apparent neurological disorder. This review aims to provide insight into the recent literature that has sought to clarify epidemiology, diagnostic issues, aetiologic understanding and treatment of patients with psychogenic disorders who usually first present to neurologists.Recent findings: Somatoform disorders are common in neurological practice. A number of papers have addressed issues of epidemiology and identified that medically unexplained symptoms in neurological populations are higher than originally thought. A number of recent review papers have served to summarize areas of considerable information (e.g. treatments) and areas of rapid growth in knowledge- (e.g. neuroimaging). Studies investigating the role of psychological factors are well represented and clarify our psychopathological understanding of somatoform disorders in patients presenting to neurologists. Treatment studies are few and continue to be limited by population sizes and study designs.Summary: Somatoform disorders are common in neurological populations. Comorbidity related to somatoform disorders with known organic neurological conditions requires further study. On account of the limitations of treatment studies, evidence-based clinical management of these patients is awaited.
|Current Opinion in Psychiatry
|Published - 2006