Psychosomatic Medicine: A New Psychiatric Subspecialty
Objective: Psychosomatic medicine, also known as consultation-liaison psychiatry, received approval as a subspecialty field of psychiatry by the American Board of Medical Specialties in the spring of 2003. This represents a crucial step in the development of the field of psychosomatic medicine and recognition by leaders in the fields of medicine and psychiatry of its importance. Methods: The field was developed in response to evidence suggesting that a high prevalence of psychiatric disorders exists in patients with complex medical illnesses and that diagnosis and management of these disorders in this population is critical yet frequently complicated by the medical illnesses themselves. Results: Psychosomatic medicine psychiatrists have developed specialized expertise in addressing these issues. Conclusion: The approval of subspecialty status for psychosomatic medicine will help promote the psychiatric care of patients with complex medical, surgical, obstetrical and neurological conditions, as well as foster further improvements in the quality of training and research in this important area.