Summary of Study Session 16
In Study Session 16, you have learned that:
- Physical complaints without an identifiable medical cause are often caused by depression, anxiety and/or somatisation.
- It is important to detect and treat the mental health causes of a person’s physical complaints so that their suffering can be relieved, they won’t spend lots of money on unhelpful treatments, and they won’t repeatedly attend health facilities.
- Always remember that unexplained physical complaints could have a physical cause that is difficult to detect – be prepared to review the diagnosis of somatisation if new evidence comes to light.
- People who worry too much can be helped with simple advice and the specific techniques of relaxation exercises and problem solving.
- Sleep problems are common and disabling. You can help to identify the cause of the sleep problem, refer for treatment if needed and advise on healthy sleep habits.
- Self-medication of anxiety and sleep problems, for example by drinking alcohol, chewing khat or taking sedative medication, is a common problem and often makes the problem worse.
- If a person is exposed to severe violence or a life-threatening accident then they are at increased risk of developing a mental illness.
- Intimate partner violence is a common problem that mainly affects women. You can help by detecting the problem, screening for mental illness and informing the woman of any local organisations that could help them.