Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Injury, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Histrionics

Conversion (hysterical) symptoms are not all that common after physical injury.

What is common are physical complaints that are not supported by physical exam.

These _somatoform_ complaints may include pain, immobility, weakness, numbness, and numerous other sensory and motor symptoms.

However, be aware that not infrequently the problem is the relationship between the patient and the doctor:
a. The doctor finds the patient_s complaints to be dubious at best
b. The patient is aware of the doctor_s perceptions
c. The patient becomes guarded and defensive
d. The doctor becomes annoyed, abrupt and confrontative
e. The patient becomes angry, hurt, and/or depressed

You refer the patient to me, and I find that there the problems that have developed between you and the patient are potentiating the somatizing (unconscious amplification) of symptoms.

While labeling the patient _hysterical_ does enable a decrease concern for the importance of their symptoms, the label itself does not eradicate the physical complaints.

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