In adults with somatoform disorders and medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS), how effective are non-pharmacological interventions, compared to any other treatment, in improving patient outcomes?
Plain language summary
Limited evidence suggests that some psychological therapies such
as CBT, mindfulness and psychotherapy can improve patient outcomes
in patients with somatoform disorders with or without medically
unexplained physical symptoms. However, more high quality research
is needed in this area to adequately assess the effectiveness of
Clinical and research implications
There is a reasonable amount of low to moderate quality evidence
from two systematic reviews that psychological therapies including
CBT, mindfulness and psychotherapy can reduce somatic symptoms and
patient withdrawal and improve treatment response, quality of life
and functional impairment compared to usual care in patients with
somatoform disorders with or without medically unexplained physical
symptoms. There is also some evidence from one small, low quality
RCT that brief group psychoeducation can improve psychosocial
functioning and patients' opinions of their condition compared to
follow-up clinic visits in patients with non-epileptic psychogenic
events admitted to an epilepsy monitoring clinic.
Further research is needed comparing different psychological
therapies and mechanisms of change, in participants of different
ages, and using blinded outcome assessment. Future RCTs should also
be multi-centre with longer follow-up periods.
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