The Lyme Disease Network
Conference Abstract

Title:Lyme Disease vs. Somatoform Disorders
Authors:Fallon BA
Conference:10th Annual International Scientific Conference on Lyme Disease & Other Tick-Borne Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD April 28-30, 1997
Presenter:Brian A. Fallon, M.D., M.P.H., M.Ed.
The NYS Psychiatric Institute

The category of Somatoform disorders includes somatization disorder, conversion disorders, pain disorder, hypochondriasis, and body dysmorphic disorder. The diagnostic criteria and treatment for these disorders will be reviewed. Because the essential aspect of a somatoform disorder is the presence of physical symptoms or complaints in the absence of objective evidence, physicians may mistakenly label a patient as having a somatoform disorder when in fact the symptoms are signs of an underlying medical illness. This mistake often occurs among patients with Lyme disease because of the multisystem nature of the illness, the problems with diagnostic tests, and the common concurrent mood or anxiety disorders. Physicians may also mistakenly diagnose a patient with a somatoform disorder as having LD. The utility of self-report questionnaires, such as the MMPI or the Whiteley Index, in the identification of hypochondriasis will be reviewed. Clues to aid in the differential diagnosis will be presented, along with vignettes drawn from clinical practice.

Unique ID: 97LDF022

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