Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Diffuse Complaints

A patient complains of a range of physical complaints that do not logically follow from her injury. She injured her knee and hip, but she has chest, abdominal, arm, neck, head and urinary complaints. Every few weeks more complaints emerge. She may not be malingering.

There are a range of somatoform disorders in which the expression of fears and needs are expressed through bodily complaints. Soma means body. Thus, somatoform, in essence, means “taking the form of bodily complaints.” What is missing is having access to that which is truly bothering her. Is she frightened of the original complaint and its consequences. Is she fearful of recovery and its responsibilities or does she need her complaints in order to cling to one or more relationships that would otherwise fail? These are the things for which she would need to be examined.

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