Psychological medicine

Dealing with somatic presentations of mental health problems

Jeffrey Streimer



Of all mental health problems encountered by GPs, over half will present with somatic symptoms alone, while only 20% will present with psychological symptoms (even fewer in some cultural groups)

Article Extract

  • In a large proportion of presentations to general practitioners no physical cause is found, and mental health problems are prevalent among them.
  • Common somatic presentations of mental health issues include tiredness, lethargy, vague chest or abdominal aches and pains, headaches, dizziness and tension.
  • Physical and psychological problems may coexist or be causally linked, so avoid conveying a mind–body dichotomy to patients.