The Medically Unexplained Revisited

Med Health Care Philos. 2013 Aug;16(3):587-600. doi: 10.1007/s11019-012-9436-2.


Medicine is facing wide-ranging challenges concerning the so-called medically unexplained disorders. The epidemiology is confusing, different medical specialties claim ownership of their unexplained territory and the unexplained conditions are themselves promoted through a highly complicated and sophisticated use of language. Confronting the outcome, i.e. numerous medical acronyms, we reflect upon principles of systematizing, contextual and social considerations and ways of thinking about these phenomena. Finally we address what we consider to be crucial dimensions concerning the landscape of unexplained "matters"; fatigued being, pain-full being and dys-ordered being, all expressive momentums of an aesthetic of resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • General Practice
  • Humans
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Philosophy, Medical
  • Prevalence
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / etiology*