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Review| Volume 128, ISSUE 10, P1054-1058, October 2015

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Somatic Symptom Disorders Without Known Physical Causes: One Disease with Many Names?

  • Morton E. Tavel
    Correspondence
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to Morton E. Tavel, MD, FACP, FACC, Indiana University School of Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, 5602 Elderberry Rd., Noblesville, IN 46062.
    Affiliations
    Indiana University School of Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis
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      Abstract

      Patients complaining of pain or fatigue in the absence of known physical diseases constitute a high percentage of those seeking general medical care. Depending upon the type of physician/specialist consulted, those individuals may receive disease labels that range from an implied psychological origin such as somatoform or psychosomatic disease, or to a presumed physical disease such as fibromyalgia. Although all these conditions are regularly associated with fatigue, we have provided a new label suggesting another disease category, “systemic exertion intolerance disease,” which replaces the previous “chronic fatigue syndrome.” All these conditions have common, overlapping features that usually consist of both fatigue and pain, and, in the absence of definitive objective confirmation, might be best classified under one heading such as somatic symptom disorder. Management of these disorders is challenging, but suggestions for proper identification and treatment are presented.

      Keywords

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