The ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ syndrome concept and the cognitive-behavioural treatment model


Senior Member
Published: September 23, 2021
Authors: Michael J Scott, Joan S Crawford, Keith J Geraghty, David F Marks
doi: 10.1177/13591053211038042

Scott et al. said:
The American Psychiatric Association’s, 2013 DSM-5 abandoned the use of the term ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ for non-neurological disorders. In the UK, treatments for various medical illnesses with unexplained aetiology, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia, continue to fall under an MUS umbrella with cognitive behavioural therapy promoted as a primary therapeutic approach. In this editorial, we comment on whether the MUS concept is a viable diagnostic term, the credibility of the cognitive-behavioural MUS treatment model, the necessity of practitioner training and the validity of evidence of effectiveness in routine practice.

Scott et al. said:
The MUS concept can no longer be accepted as a viable diagnostic term. The credibility of the cognitive-behavioural MUS treatment model has reached a nadir and can be given only an auxiliary role in treatment. An urgent necessity to provide practitioner training has been identified and the need for greater awareness of the misleading nature of poor quality evidence for effectiveness of the CBT approach in routine practice.