They Can’t Find Anything Wrong! Seven Keys to Understanding, Treating, and Healing Stress Illness

Kaiser Permanente, The Permanente Medical Group, The Permanente Federation

By David D Clarke, MD

Review by Erik K Fromme, MD

Spring 2008 - Volume 12 Number 2

They can't find anything wrong! Seven keys to understanding, treating, and healing stress illness describes the approach and techniques developed by physician David D Clarke, MD, in treating more than 7000 patients with "stress illness." For more than 20 years, Dr Clarke has taken referrals of patients with "medically unexplained" symptoms, who have generally already seen multiple health professionals bent on finding a biomedical explanation. Patients with medically unexplained symptoms have always existed, but with greater and greater advances in diagnostic technology they have become increasingly marginalized. The better we get at identifying the underlying mechanisms of disease, the more skeptical we are of patients for whom we "can't find anything wrong." Dr Clarke describes medically unexplained symptoms as a "blind spot in the health care system," but it might be more accurate to say that very few physicians have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to successfully manage such patients.


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