Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders: Diagnosis

The diagnostic criteria for somatic symptom and related disorders have changed markedly across editions of diagnostic manuals. These changes in criteria have led to commensurate changes in how the disorders are assessed, diagnosed, and treated. Even the definitions of somatic symptoms themselves have changed, as well as how these relate to diagnosis. Historically, the diagnosis of a somatic symptom or related disorder required that a patient report medically unexplained symptoms (i.e., symptoms that could not be explained by organic pathology). The diagnosis of these conditions therefore rested on the ruling out of potential medical conditions that could cause the distressing symptoms. This aspect of diagnosis was problematic for several reasons. First, ruling out a medical condition with absolute certainty is unachievable, and false negatives can ...

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