JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Somatic Symptom Disorders in Adolescent Inpatients.

PURPOSE: There are only a few reports of adolescents with somatic disorders (SDs) whose symptoms are sufficiently severe to require hospital admission. The aim of this study was to describe the symptom profile, health service utilization, and outcome of adolescents with SDs admitted to a tertiary children's hospital.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of all adolescents admitted to the Adolescent Medicine Unit of a tertiary children's hospital was undertaken from July 2013 to June 2014. In a two-stage process, medical records were examined to identify patients who met the diagnostic criteria for SD. Evidence of functional recovery was obtained for the period from 18 to 30 months after discharge and rated as completely recovered, partially recovered, or functionally disabled.

RESULTS: A total of 60 admissions (53 patients, 79% female) were identified with SD, accounting for 12% of the unit's admissions and 2% of hospital admissions over 12 years old. Nearly half (45%) the presenting symptoms were neurological and 39% involved pain. In total, 20% of admissions were for complex symptoms involving multiple body systems. The majority (81%) of adolescents with follow-up documentation (n = 37) demonstrated complete or partial recovery. Patients whose families fully accepted the diagnosis were more likely to accept counseling following discharge (p < .001) and were almost 20 times more likely to have completely recovered compared to adolescents whose families partially accepted or rejected the diagnosis (odds ratio 17.36, p = .003).

CONCLUSIONS: Hospitalized adolescents with SD utilize substantial resources due to the requirement for comprehensive assessment, including multidisciplinary communication. Recovery can be anticipated for the majority, especially if supported by parents.

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