Patients presenting with somatoform disorders often incur excessive health care charges and fail to respond to standard treatment. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the diagnostic criteria and demographic and clinical characteristics of each somatoform disorder and to examine the research assessing the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for each disorder. The review shows that CBT has received some empirical support for somatization, hypochondriasis, and body dysmorphic disorder. However, there are few data on the impact of treatment on health care use, especially when the cost of CBT is factored into the equation. Too few methodologically sound studies have been published on the treatment of conversion disorder or of pain disorder to make any conclusions.
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