Illness behaviour in elite middle and long distance runners.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the illness attitudes and beliefs known to be associated with abnormal illness behaviour (where symptoms are present in excess of objective signs and pathology) in elite middle and long distance runners, in comparison with non-athlete controls. METHODS: A total of 150 athletes were surveyed using the illness behaviour questionnaire as an instrument to explore the psychological attributes associated with abnormal illness behaviour. Subjects also completed the general health questionnaire as a measure of psychiatric morbidity. A control group of 150 subjects, matched for age, sex, and social class, were surveyed using the same instruments. RESULTS: A multivariate analysis of illness behaviour questionnaire responses showed that the athletes' group differed significantly from the control group (Hotelling's T: Exact F = 2.68; p = 0.01). In particular, athletes were more somatically focused (difference between means -0.27; 95% confidence interval -0.50 to -0.03) and more likely to deny the impact of stresses in their life (difference between means 0.78; 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 1.25). Athletes were also higher scorers on the Whiteley Index of Hypochondriasis (difference between means 0.76; 95% confidence interval 0.04 to 1.48). There were no differences in the levels of psychiatric morbidity between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: The illness attitudes and beliefs of athletes differ from those of a well matched control population. The origin of these psychological attributes is not clear but those who treat athletes need to be aware of them. (+info)
Mental disorders in the primary care sector: a potential role for managed care.
This activity is designed for leaders and managers of managed care organizations and for primary care physicians involved in evaluating, treating, and caring for patients with mental disorders. GOAL: To provide a better understanding of primary care patients' needs for mental health services and how managed care companies might best address these needs. OBJECTIVES: 1. Describe problems in detection of mental disorders 2. Discuss the specific ways in which treatments can be improved for mental disorders under managed care systems. (+info)
The prevalence and associated features of chronic widespread pain in the community using the 'Manchester' definition of chronic widespread pain.
OBJECTIVE: We examine the descriptive epidemiology of chronic widespread pain using the 'Manchester' definition [CWP(M)] and assess psychosocial and other features which characterize subjects with such pain according to these more stringent criteria. METHODS: A population postal survey of 3004 subjects was conducted in the Greater Manchester area of the UK. RESULTS: The point prevalence of Manchester-defined chronic widespread pain was 4.7%. CWP(M) was associated with psychological disturbance [risk ratio (RR) = 2.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.4-3.5)], fatigue [RR = 3.8, 95% CI (2.3-6.1)], low levels of self-care [RR = 2.2, 95% CI (1.4-3.6)] and with the reporting of other somatic symptoms [RR = 2.0, 95% CI (1.3-3.1)]. Hypochondriacal beliefs and a preoccupation with bodily symptoms were also associated with the presence of CWP(M). CONCLUSION: This definition of chronic widespread pain is more precise in identifying subjects with truly widespread pain and its associated adverse psychosocial factors. Clear associations with other 'non-pain' somatic symptoms were identified, which further supports the hypothesis that chronic widespread pain is one feature of somatization. (+info)
Unnatural sudden infant death.
AIM: To identify features to help paediatricians differentiate between natural and unnatural infant deaths. METHOD: Clinical features of 81 children judged by criminal and family courts to have been killed by their parents were studied. Health and social service records, court documents, and records from meetings with parents, relatives, and social workers were studied. RESULTS: Initially, 42 children had been certified as dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and 29 were given another cause of natural death. In 24 families, more than one child died; 58 died before the age of 6 months and most died in the afternoon or evening. Seventy per cent had experienced unexplained illnesses; over half were admitted to hospital within the previous month, and 15 had been discharged within 24 hours of death. The mother, father, or both were responsible for death in 43, five, and two families, respectively. Most homes were disadvantaged--no regular income, receiving income support--and mothers smoked. Half the perpetrators had a history of somatising or factitious disorder. Death was usually by smothering and 43% of children had bruises, petechiae, or blood on the face. CONCLUSIONS: Although certain features are indicative of unnatural infant death, some are also associated with SIDS. Despite the recent reduction in numbers of infants dying suddenly, inadequacies in the assessment of their deaths exist. Until a thorough postmortem examination is combined with evaluation of the history and circumstances of death by an experienced paediatrician, most cases of covert fatal abuse will go undetected. The term SIDS requires revision or abandonment. (+info)
The value of provocation methods in patients suspected of having non-epileptic seizures.
Non-epileptic seizures (NES) are reported in 18-23% of patients referred to comprehensive epilepsy centres. Non-epileptic seizures may also be present in 5-20% of the patients who are diagnosed as having refractory seizures. Because of their prevalence, financial and psychosocial outcomes cannot be ignored and accurate diagnosis is of the utmost importance. Various methods of seizure induction have been developed with the aim of differentiating epileptic from non-epileptic seizures. However, recording the attacks by video-EEG monitoring is the gold standard. In our outpatient EEG laboratory we try to induce seizures with verbal suggestion or IV saline infusion in patients who are referred by a clinician with the diagnosis of probable non-epileptic seizures. In this study we investigated the results of 72 patients who were referred between January 1992-June 1996. Non-epileptic seizures were observed in 52 (72.2%) patients. Thirteen of these patients still had risk factors for epilepsy. We could not decide whether all of their previous attacks were non-epileptic because 10-30% of the patients with NES also have epileptic seizures. For a more accurate diagnosis it was decided that these 13 patients, together with the 20 patients who did not have seizures with induction, needed video-EEG monitoring. Thirty-nine patients who had NES and no risk factors for epilepsy were thought to have pure non-epileptic seizures. We claim that not all patients suspected of having NES need long-term video-EEG monitoring and almost half (54.2%) of the cases can be eliminated by seizure induction with some provocative techniques. (+info)
Managing somatic preoccupation.
Somatically preoccupied patients are a heterogeneous group of persons who have no genuine physical disorder but manifest psychologic conflicts in a somatic fashion; who have a notable psychologic overlay that accompanies or complicates a genuine physical disorder; or who have psychophysiologic symptoms in which psychologic factors play a major role in physiologic symptoms. In the primary care setting, somatic preoccupation is far more prevalent among patients than are the psychiatric disorders collectively referred to as somatoform disorders (e.g., somatization disorder, hypochondriasis). Diagnostic clues include normal results from physical examination and diagnostic tests, multiple unexplained symptoms, high health care utilization patterns and specific factors in the family and the social history. Treatment may include a physician behavior management strategy, antidepressants, psychiatric consultation and cognitive-behavior therapy. (+info)
An international study of the relation between somatic symptoms and depression.
BACKGROUND AND METHODS: Patients with depression, particularly those seen by primary care physicians, may report somatic symptoms, such as headache, constipation, weakness, or back pain. Some previous studies have suggested that patients in non-Western countries are more likely to report somatic symptoms than are patients in Western countries. We used data from the World Health Organization's study of psychological problems in general health care to examine the relation between somatic symptoms and depression. The study, conducted in 1991 and 1992, screened 25,916 patients at 15 primary care centers in 14 countries on 5 continents. Of the patients in the original sample, 5447 underwent a structured assessment of depressive and somatoform disorders. RESULTS: A total of 1146 patients (weighted prevalence, 10.1 percent) met the criteria for major depression. The range of patients with depression who reported only somatic symptoms was 45 to 95 percent (overall prevalence, 69 percent; P=0.002 for the comparison among centers). A somatic presentation was more common at centers where patients lacked an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician than at centers where most patients had a personal physician (odds ratio, 1.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 2.7). Half the depressed patients reported multiple unexplained somatic symptoms, and 11 percent denied psychological symptoms of depression on direct questioning. Neither of these proportions varied significantly among the centers. Although the overall prevalence of depressive symptoms varied markedly among the centers, the frequencies of psychological and physical symptoms were similar. CONCLUSIONS: Somatic symptoms of depression are common in many countries, but their frequency varies depending on how somatization is defined. There is substantial variation in how frequently patients with depression present with strictly somatic symptoms. In part, this variation may reflect characteristics of physicians and health care systems, as well as cultural differences among patients. (+info)
In pursuit of perfection: a primary care physician's guide to body dysmorphic disorder.
Body dysmorphic disorder is an under-recognized chronic problem that is defined as an excessive preoccupation with an imagined or a minor defect of a localized facial feature or body part, resulting in decreased social, academic and occupational functioning. Patients who have body dysmorphic disorder are preoccupied with an ideal body image and view themselves as ugly or misshapen. Comorbid psychiatric disorders may also be present in these patients. Body dysmorphic disorder is distinguished from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa that encompass a preoccupation with overall body shape and weight. Psychosocial and neurochemical factors, specifically serotonin dysfunction, are postulated etiologies. Treatment approaches include cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and psychotropic medication. To relieve the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, in higher dosages than those typically recommended for other psychiatric disorders, may be necessary. A trusting relationship between the patient and the family physician may encourage compliance with medical treatment and bridge the transition to psychiatric intervention. (+info)