Towards positive diagnostic criteria: a systematic review of somatoform disorder diagnoses and suggestions for future classification.
ABSTRACT The classification of somatoform disorders is currently being revised in order to improve its validity for the DSM-V and ICD-11. In this article, we compare the validity and clinical utility of current and several new diagnostic proposals of those somatoform disorders that focus on medically unexplained somatic symptoms.
We searched the Medline, PsycInfo, and Cochrane databases, as well as relevant reference lists. We included review papers and original articles on the subject of somatoform classification in general, subtypes of validity of the diagnoses, or single diagnostic criteria.
Of all diagnostic proposals, only complex somatic symptom disorder and the Conceptual Issues in Somatoform and Similar Disorders (CISSD) example criteria reflect all dimensions of current biopsychosocial models of somatization (construct validity) and go beyond somatic symptom counts by including psychological and behavioral symptoms that are specific to somatization (descriptive validity). Predictive validity of most of the diagnostic proposals has not yet been investigated. However, the number of somatic symptoms has been found to be a strong predictor of disability. Some evidence indicates that psychological symptoms can predict disease course and treatment outcome (e.g., therapeutic modification of catastrophizing is associated with positive outcome). Lengthy symptom lists, the requirement of lifetime symptom report (as in abridged somatization), complicated symptom patterns (as in current somatization disorder), and imprecise definitions of diagnostic procedures (e.g., missing symptom threshold in complex somatic symptom disorder) reduce clinical utility.
Results from the reviewed studies suggest that, of all current and new diagnostic suggestions, complex somatic symptom disorder and the CISSD definition appear to have advantages regarding validity and clinical utility. The integration of psychological and behavioral criteria could enhance construct and descriptive validity, and confers prospectively relevant treatment implications. The incorporation of a dimensional approach that reflects both somatic and psychological symptom severity also has the potential to improve predictive validity and clinical utility.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The etiopathology of somatoform disorders can only be understood against the background of an integrated biopsychosocial model. Cultural and historical influences must be taken into account as well as contemporary settings of scientific or medical priorities. In this context the emphasis on neurobiological findings can be interpreted as the non-accidental struggle for legitimacy of both patients and physicians. Altogether the available data on factors influencing the formation and maintenance of somatoform symptoms has to be described as both diverse and unspecific and thus points to a challenging research program in the coming years.Der Nervenarzt 08/2012; 83(9):1106-14. · 0.68 Impact Factor
Article: Psychological and behavioral variables associated with the somatic symptom severity of general hospital outpatients in China.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: In high-income countries, the number and severity of somatic symptoms - irrespective of etiology - are associated with adverse psychobehavioral and functional characteristics. This study aimed to assess these key features among Chinese general hospital outpatients with high levels of somatic symptoms. METHODS: This multicenter, cross-sectional study evaluated four outpatient departments of internal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing and Kunming and enrolled a total of 281 consecutive patients. The patients answered questionnaires concerning somatic symptom severity [Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-15)], illness perception (Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire), illness behavior (Scale for the Assessment of Illness Behavior), emotional distress (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and health-related quality of life (12-Item Short Form Health Survey). Subsamples reporting high scores of somatic symptom severity (PHQ-15 ≥10, SOM+) versus low scores (PHQ-15 <10, SOM-) were compared. RESULTS: Twenty-eight percent (79/281) of all outpatients showed high somatic symptom severity. The strongest correlations between high somatic symptom severity and psychobehavioral variables were found for high emotional distress, female gender, living alone, low physical quality of life and high dysfunctional illness behavior. The proportion of the explained variance was 36.1%. CONCLUSION: In Chinese outpatients, high somatic symptom severity is frequent and associated with psychobehavioral characteristics. With the PHQ-15 cutoff of 10, SOM+ patients could be differentiated from SOM- patients using these characteristics.General hospital psychiatry 12/2012; · 2.67 Impact Factor
Article: A Review of Somatoform Disorders in DSM-IV and Somatic Symptom Disorders in Proposed DSM-V.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Psychiatric care providers should be trained to use current changes in the somatoform disorders criteria. New diagnostic criteria for Somatic Symptom disorders in the proposed DSM-V is discussed and compared with its older counterpart in DSM-IV. A new category called Somatic Syndrome Disorders is suggested. It includes new subcategories such as "Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder" (CSSD) and "Simple Somatic Symptom Disorder" (SSSD). Some of the subcategories of DSM-IV derived disorders are included in CSSD. While there are some changes in diagnostic criteria, there are concerns and limitations about the new classification needed to be more discussed before implementation. Functional somatic disturbance, the counterpart of converion disorder in DSM-IV, can be highly dependet on the developmental level of children. However, the role of developmental level needs to be considered.Psychiatria Danubina 12/2012; 24(4):353-8. · 0.44 Impact Factor