Psychological Factors Affecting Other Medical Conditions

Psychological factors affecting other medical conditions is diagnosed when attitudes or behaviours have a negative effect on a medical disorder that the individual has.

Refer to Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders.

Individual’s attitudes or behaviour can negatively affect any disorder (such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, or migraines) or symptom (such as pain).

Attitudes and behaviour can make a disorder or symptoms worse, sometimes resulting in hospitalisation or a visit to an emergency department.

For example, severe stress can temporarily weaken the heart, or chronic work-related stress can increase the risk of high blood pressure. The risk of suffering, death, or disability due to the disorder can be increased.

Factors that can worsen a medical condition include the following:

  • Denying the significance or severity of symptoms;
  • Denying the need for treatment;
  • Not following the prescribed treatment plan; and
  • Not getting the recommended tests.

Psychological factors affecting other medical conditions is diagnosed if a psychological factor clearly affects how a disorder progresses.

Treatment involves:

  • Teaching individuals about the effects of psychological factors or behaviour; and/or
  • Psychotherapy.

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