Medically Unexplained Illness: Gender and Biopsychosocial Implications
Medically unexplained illnesses are among the most common disorders in primary medical care today. Accordingly, there has been a recent surge of interest in the physiology of such illnesses as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and multiple chemical sensitivity. But biomedical models can only go so far toward understanding a group of painful and often frustrating symptoms. These models are unable to fully answer such questions as: How are these vulnerabilities aggravated by psychosocial stress factors such as childhood abuse, work, and interpersonal stress? What cognitive factors contribute to an increase in symptoms? And, perhaps more importantly, why do medically unexplained illnesses strike women in overwhelmingly disproportionate numbers?
Author Susan K. Johnson surveys the most recent research on how psychological, social, and physiological factors may interact and contribute to the development of symptoms. This volume will appeal to both psychologists and health care professionals interested in more fully understanding the interaction between mind and body in medically unexplained illness.