Illness behaviour

Typically, patients with somatization disorder persistently exhibit consulting behaviour which results in an excessive use of medical services and alternative therapies. In chronic cases, they have often been subject to a large number of futile examinations, surgery, and medical/surgical attempts at treatment. (1,1 16)

A characteristic doctor-patient relationship often emerges. The negative results of medical check-up and treatment attempts, combined with the patients' seductive demanding personality style, often result in a mutual hostility between the patients and their doctors. (1.Z.) As a result, the patients may consult one physician after another ('doctor shopping'). The different illness patterns at different times, combined with the patient's personality style, may result in disagreement between the different health-care professionals involved in their care.

In chronic cases, all aspects of the patient's social and family life may be centred around their illness, so that the whole of family life is adjusted to the patient's demands ('illness as a way of living').(!8)

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