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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 19 (1977) 3, 155 - 174

Short report

Psychiatrie evaluation of patients with undiagnosed somatic complaints

H.G.M. Rooymans

Aim of this study was to gain insight into the argumentation of the psychiatrist in accepting (or rejecting) a possible psychological origin of undiagnosed somatic complaints. The study was based on the psychiatric records of 223 somatic in-patients with functional complaints. All patients were during their stay in the hospital seen by a psychiatrist. A description of some demographic and psychiatrie characteristics of the patients is followed by a detailed discussion of the relative differences on a number of variables between four subgroups and the total population of patients. The most important conclusions were:
1. Patients who were diagnosed as 'psychosomatic', i.e. with psychogenic complaints (56% of the total population), didn't as a group at most variables differ from the total population of patients;
2. The view of the patients themselves as expressed in the beginning of the interview, about a possible relation between their complaints and emotional stress was of course of great importante for the opinion of the psychiatrist;
3. The frequency of anxiety-states was higher than expected in patients who associated their complaints and emotional stress, and lower in patients who denied such a relationship. These correlations were absent with depressive patients;
4. Verification or falsification of the hypothesis that somatic complaints have a psychological origin is only possible in the universe of the individual patient.