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The role of attachment in medically unexplained symptoms and long-term illness

  • Gwen Adshead and Elspeth Guthrie

Summary

In this article, we explore the role of attachment in the development of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) and response to physical illness. We review the evidence that attachment insecurity is common in people with different forms of MUS and certain long-term physical conditions. We discuss a possible developmental model for understanding how MUS develop. We conclude with discussion of potential therapies and implications for services.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Gwen Adshead, Locum Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Ravenswood House, The Knowle, Fareham PO17 5NA, UK. Email: gwen.adshead@southernhealth.nhs.uk

Footnotes

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Learning Objectives

Increased knowledge of the theoretical basis of attachment theory and the major different patterns of attachment Increased awareness of the complexity of the link between insecure attachment and development and maintenance of MUS and long-term illness Increased ability to recognise and take account of specific patterns of interpersonal relating in patients with MUS, to help formulate treatment and management plans

Declaration of Interest

None

Footnotes

References

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The role of attachment in medically unexplained symptoms and long-term illness

  • Gwen Adshead and Elspeth Guthrie

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The role of attachment in medically unexplained symptoms and long-term illness

  • Gwen Adshead and Elspeth Guthrie
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