Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Conditions

Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Conditions

Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Conditions


  1. A medical symptom or condition (other than the mental disorder) is present.
  2. Psychological or behavioral factors adversely affect the medical condition and one of the following ways:
    1. The factors have influenced the course of the medical condition shown by a close temporal association between the psychological factors in the development or exacerbation of, or delayed recovery from, the medical condition.
    2. The factors interfere with the treatment of the medical condition (e.g., poor adherence).
    3. The factors constitute additional well-established health risks for the individual.
    4. The factors influence the underlying pathophysiology, precipitating or exacerbating symptoms or necessitating medical attention.
  3. Criterion B is not better explained by another mental disorder

Specify severity

Mild: Increases medical risk (e.g., inconsistency in taking meds)

Mod: Aggravates underlying medical condition (e.g., anxiety aggravating asthma)

Sev: Results in medical hospitalization or emergency room visit

Extr: Results in severe, life threatening risk (e.g., ignoring heart attack sxs)


This includes things like psychological distress (e.g., chronic overstress at work), patterns of interpersonal interaction (e.g., utilizing the sick role), coping styles (e.g., denial of seriousness), and maladaptive health behaviors (e.g., treatment noncompliance due to psychological reactance).

Remember – be careful making judgments about culturally sanctioned healing practices – if they don’t harm, don’t worry about it.

In concert with the medical diagnosis, this can be billed as F54: Psychological and behavioral factors associated with disorders or diseases classified elsewhere.

Some other diagnoses that you may consider in these situations, or in a differential diagnosis:

  • 3 Unavailability or Inaccessibility of Health Care Facilities
  • 1 Nonadherence to Medical Treatment
  • 0 Problems Related to Lifestyle


Here’s to treating the WHOLE person in the context of a team of health/wellness professionals!

Comment below: How have you seen psychological factors impacting clients’ physical symptoms? How have you convinced them to treat the psychological parts as well?





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