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Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage" (Merskey et al. 1979, p. 249). Pain can be classified in many ways, including by location on the body, duration (acute, recurrent, chronic), intensity (mild, moderate, severe), etiology (malignant, nonmalignant), and presumed physiological mechanism (see Table 9-1). A biopsychosocial model can be used for the evaluation and treatment of all types of pain. Psychiatric consultation is most commonly requested when the pain is difficult to treat, medically unexplained, chronic, associated with unexpected levels of disability or distress, and/ or comorbid with obvious psychiatric symptoms.

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