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Barr, William B
"Differential diagnosis of psychological factors evoked by pain presentations"
Clinical neuropsychologist 2013 Jan; 27(1):17-29
The degree to which psychological factors are believed to influence the experience of pain has evolved significantly through history. Over the past 100 years, the trend has shifted from a focus on the study of sensory aspects of pain perception to one where psychological factors play a prominent role. Pain is now viewed as a complex subjective experience consisting of sensory, affective, and cognitive components. Psychological presentations of pain are commonly reduced to a differential among Pain Disorder, Somatization Disorder, and Malingering. Limitations in the use of the current DSM-IV-TR diagnostic classifications for pain will lead to changes in the upcoming DSM-V. Psychological testing is becoming increasingly recognized as a valuable evidence-based method for making diagnoses of psychological factors influencing pain presentations. There is a shift from the use of brief measures of pain intensity to multidimensional scales including assessment of affect and perceived functional disability. There is also increased attention to the use of validity scales for assessing symptom exaggeration and other types of response bias. Neuropsychologists, with specialized knowledge and background in evidence based assessment methods, are particularly well equipped to provide valuable input regarding psychological presentations of pain in forensic contexts and in consultation to multidisciplinary treatment teams.

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