Medically Unexplained Symptoms and the Siren “Psychogenic Inference”

  title={Medically Unexplained Symptoms and the Siren “Psychogenic Inference”},
  author={Richard Dodgson Sykes},
  journal={Philosophy, Psychiatry, \& Psychology},
  pages={289 - 299}
  • R. Sykes
  • Published 19 March 2011
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology
The “psychogenic inference” is the inference that if there is no known physical cause for a symptom or disorder, the cause must be psychological. Although this inference is commonly made, this paper argues that it is a Siren song; that, although superficially appealing, it faces many serious objections, leads to “overpsychologizing”—the overdiagnosis of psychological problems—does much harm and should now be finally eliminated. It should be replaced by two key diagnostic principles and an open… 

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