In many patients who consult with a doctor on topic of physical complaints, no clear organic disorders can be found. They suffer from so-called “somatoform disorders”. Now new therapeutic approach help to improve the quality of life of patients .
At every fifth patient who visited his family doctor, no organic cause for his complaints can be found. This is called “somatoform disorders”, which are closely related with psychosomatic complaints. An essential feature of somatoform disorders are unclear physical discomfort. Here their complaints, these patients dont simulate, but suffer seriously from symptoms such as pain, gastrointestinal disorders and cardiac symptoms.
Somatoform disorders are the most common clinical pictures in patients of general practitioners. About 80 percent of the population temporarily suffer from unexplained physical complaints. But in some cases, the symptoms may become chronic and severely impair the quality of life of those affected. Often the affected patients have a long doctor’s odyssey, because many doctors are not taken their complaints seriously, although somatoform disorders for those affected represent a major psychological strain.
Group sessions reduce suffering.
Now researchers have developed a new therapy model to patients and physicians to help deal with the complaints. In the model “speziall” (specific general medical-psychosomatic short intervention group) GPs and psychosomatic offer together a group therapy.
In ten group sessions, patients receive information on the environmental, social and psychological factors that contribute to their complaints. They also learn relaxation techniques and benefit from the experience in the group. The researchers compared the course of their study, 170 patients who participated in the speziall sessions, with 134 other patients who were treated only in the personal interviews of their trained on somatoform disorders GPs. It turned out that the quality of life of the participants in the group sessions more improved than that of other patients.
The patients had less pain and felt less exhausted. Even the fear of those affected went back to suffering from a disease, and the number of GP visits decreased significantly. Group sessions after speziall method may therefore be a useful measure in the treatment of unexplained physical complaints.