Why do doctors dislike treating people with somatoform disorder?
OBJECTIVE: To consider the question of why doctors dislike treating people with somatoform disorder, with a view to assisting debate and improving services. METHODS: The literature was examined, and compared with clinical experience. RESULTS: Psychological, sociological and evolutionary theory make relevant contributions. Important factors include that these conditions are problematic and positive outcomes may not be possible given current knowledge and clinical skills and techniques. Patients may not accept that their problem is a form of psychiatric or brain disorder. Most importantly, the doctor may not accept that somatoform disorders are beyond the control of patients, setting the scene for irritation and unsatisfactory interactions. CONCLUSIONS: There are many factors that underlie the dislike of some doctors for treating people with somatoform disorder. There is a pressing need for educational efforts to help students and doctors accept that the symptoms of somatoform disorder a