Summary of Study Session 16

In Study Session 16, you have learned that:

  1. Physical complaints without an identifiable medical cause are often caused by depression, anxiety and/or somatisation.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. People who worry too much can be helped with simple advice and the specific techniques of relaxation exercises and problem solving.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. If a person is exposed to severe violence or a life-threatening accident then they are at increased risk of developing a mental illness.
  8. 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.

16.4.2  Intimate partner (‘domestic’) violence

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 16