Integrated Diagnostic and Treatment Approach for the Medical Patient Who Has Had Psychologic Trauma

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Abstract

Background.

Physicians often treat patients with physical illnesses that have a functional component. Investigators have discovered that many of these patients have unresolved emotional problems associated with histories of trauma and abuse.

Methods.

Abused and traumatized patients with medical complaints often seek medical help. Empathic nonpsychiatrist physicians play an important role in the care of these patients. The physician's efforts can be augmented by a trained RN to provide supportive stress training and nutrition education and by a mental health professional to provide psychotherapy when needed.

Results.

In the case presented, the patient had symptomatic improvement when her physician empathically provided medical treatment, involved the staff and a trained RN in the healing effort, and made an appropriate referral to a mental health professional.

Conclusion.

This unified diagnostic and treatment approach for traumatized patients with medical problems can be rewarding, efficacious, and cost effective.

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