Somatoform Disorders: A Medicolegal Guide

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People with somatoform disorder (which used to be known as hysteria) present with a range of symptoms that typically last for years and can't be traced to a specific physical cause. Such symptoms may include frequent headaches; back pain; abdominal cramping and pelvic pain; pain in the joints, legs and arms; chest or abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal problems. This book is an in-depth, clinically orientated review of the somatoform disorders and related clinical presentations (such as chronic fatigue syndrome) and how they present in a medico-legal setting. It is aimed at both clinicians and lawyers who deal with injury claims where these disorders impact much more frequently than is generally recognised.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Overall, due to its brevity and completeness, this text is quite interesting, and will provide clinicians with a more global understanding of those being treated for this disorder."
Doody's Review ServiceG

"The book brilliantly brings historical perspectives and up-to-date evidence together. Trimble's work is remarkably intellectual."
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

"...this is a very well-written book. It is an excellent summary for any psychiatrist or physician interested in becoming an expert witness."
Allan Abbass MD, FRCPC, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

"...a refreshingly direct and candid book on a subject that frequently provokes controversy...Professor Trimble's book is welcome because of its erudition and honesty."
John Sheehan, MB, Quarterly Journal of Mental Health

"Michael Trimble's Somatoform Disorders is packed with a lot of useful information for both clinicians and lawyers dealing with personal injury claims."
Psychiatric Services

"This is not the book to pick up the night before you are to be grilled by an attorney, but it should be carefully read and digested well before then by specialists in Psychosomatic Medicine, Consultation-Liaison, and Forensic Psychiatry, as well as any health care professional testifying regarding disability or malpractice in cases with unexplained physical symptoms."
James L. Levenson, Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: Meant to condense and clarify the abundant literature regarding somatoform disorders, this text walks the reader through historical perspectives, classification and presentations of the disorder, assessment, treatment, prognosis, and the legal complexities associated with these cases.
Purpose: This text's purpose is to educate and inform practitioners in legal and medical arenas about this complex and misunderstood disorder that so closely intermingles psychiatric and specialized medical professionals with those in the legal system.
Audience: The first portion of this text (historical and clinical perspectives) is directed at physicians. However, while interesting and useful for mental health professiona1s, the remainder of the book is geared toward those in the legal system "who may . . . come across people with the medical problems discussed here."
Features: From a clinical perspective, the first six chapters are practical for a physician because they explore somatoform disorder in significant detail, while chapters seven and eight discuss legal theory and practice. The final chapter is more existential, addressing the issues of consciousness and the vital question of causation that tends to be of utmost importance to the judicial system.
Assessment: Overall, due to its brevity and completeness, this text is quite interesting, and will provide clinicians with a more global understanding of those being treated for this disorder. Particularly interesting is the discussion of how legal questions arising in this type of clinical forum are addressed in a judicial system outside the United States, as the problem of disability continues to outreach its financial boundaries. At times the discussion seems oversimplified, but further depth might jeopardize its usefulness to those in either the legal or medical professions.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521811088
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2004
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

DOB 20 May
1946. Professor of Behavioural Neurology at the Institute of Neurology and consultant physician to the National Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Member of the American Neurological Association, Member of the Association of British Neurologists, Chairman of the British Neuropsychiatric Association.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Historical overview; 2. Classification and the somatoform disorders; 3. Clinical presentations; 4. Malingering; 5. Memory in a medicolegal context; 6. Assessment, treatment and prognosis; 7. Somatoform disorders in a medicolegal context; 8. Mechanisms; 9. Causation and the question of consciousness; Appendix: Civil procedure rules Part 35; Index.

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