n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Medically unexplained symptoms : main article

Volume 24, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Medically unexplained symptoms range from mild transitory symptoms to severe disabling symptoms and syndromes and make up 20 - 30% of general practice consultations. <BR>Causation is related to biological, psychological and interpersonal factors which work together to precipitate, predispose to and/or perpetuate symptoms. <BR>General management requires a clear explanation and appropriate reassurance, identification of underlying stressors, diagnosis of underlying depression and anxiety, relaxation techniques, and follow-up that is not symptom-dependent. <BR>Specific management options include antidepressant medication, cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction. <BR>The doctor-patient relationship may be difficult. Doctors tend to feel pressurised by the patients' complex, multiple unexplained symptoms presented with graphic emotional language and with patients wanting emotional support but blocking the doctors attempts to engage. <BR>Doctors tend to investigate and prescribe (despite lack of overt patient request), which adds to unnecessary costs. <BR>Patients benefit when their doctors have improved communication techniques and skills in dealing with MUS.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error