Cognitive behavior therapy for functional somatic complaints. The example of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Somatic complaints such as pain and fatigue that are unexplained by conventional disease are common in medical practice and are referred to as functional, somatoform, or somatization symptoms. Despite frequent chronicity, disability, and high associated medical costs, patients with these complaints are rarely offered either constructive explanations or effective treatment. In this perspective, a cognitive-behavioral approach to the problem is described, using chronic fatigue syndrome as an example. It is concluded that the utility of the cognitive-behavioral theory and the proven effectiveness cognitive behavior therapy provide the basis for a new evidence-based approach to psychosomatics.