Functional disorders (psychogenic illness)

Head | Psychiatry | Functional disorders (psychogenic illness) (Disease)


Functional disorders is a disorder characterized by physical symptoms with no known or detectable organic basis. It is a condition thought to be psychogenic in nature such as: chronic abdominal pain, low back pain, chronic fatigue, chronic chest pain, and chronic headaches.

A functional disorder is a medical condition that impairs the normal function of a bodily process, but where every part of the body looks completely normal under examination, dissection or even under a microscope. This stands in contrast to a structural disorder (in which some part of the body can be seen to be abnormal) or a psychosomatic disorder (in which symptoms are caused by psychological or psychiatric illness). Definitions vary somewhat between fields of medicine.

Whether a given medical condition is termed a functional disorder depends in part on the state of knowledge. Some diseases, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, and migraine headaches were once considered functional disorders, but are no longer generally classified that way.

Symptoms can be diverse depending on the body system affected.

Causes and Risk factors

Generally, the mechanism that causes a functional disorder is unknown, poorly understood, or occasionally unimportant for treatment purposes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends on the symptoms but may include: psychological treatment, counseling, and at times chronic pain treatment with a chronic pain specialist. ...