Psychosomatic Disorder: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments August 4, 2016

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Did you ever wonder why your doctor told you not to get stressed out when you were ill? Did you know that worrying about a disease can lead to physical symptoms? Well, if you did not, then you may want to read this post.

Psychology plays a vital role in curing, doesn’t it? So would you like to know more about psychosomatic disorders and how they are related to psychology? Give this post a read!

Role Of Psychology In Curing:

A while ago, there lived a doctor, who once treated an arrogant old man. The old man insisted that the doctor give him a steroid capsule for his stomach ache. The doctor refused, but the patient wouldn’t listen. So, the doctor decided to give in; before he did give the old man his steroid capsule, he emptied the contents of the capsule. The patient took the capsule without realizing that it was empty. An hour later, the doctor asked the old man how he felt. The old man again got angry and told the doctor he could have given him the same capsule earlier. The doctor smiled inwardly.

Psychology plays an important part in curing disease, and even the onset of disease in the first place. Most physical conditions have a psychological component attached to it. Psychosomatic disorders are usually diseases that involve the mind and body. Often physical diseases and their symptoms can be aggravated by your stress and anxiety. Your state of mind is what aggravates or calms your physical condition (1).

What Is Psychosomatic Disorder?

The term psychosomatic disorder usually means “a physical disease that is thought to be caused, or made worse, by mental factors.” Usually most diseases are psychosomatic, as they have mental and physical components.

Every physical disease worsens with worry, anxiety, fear and other negative feelings. Usually, the types of psychosomatic disorders faced by young people are very much different from those faced by people over the age of 50. The symptoms of the disease differ from generation to generation and, of course, from person to person. You have to remember that every mind (psyche) and body (soma) is different. Thus, each psychosomatic manifestation will be different.

Depending on your mentality and temperament, a physical disease like a rash or psoriasis may bother you enough to make you depressed and sick. However, another friend with a similar condition may not feel as depressed or sick as you.

The reverse can also be true. For instance, someone with depression may not eat enough or nothing at all. Thus, mental conditions can also lead to physical illness.

Psychosomatic disorders generally include diseases like eczema, stomach ulcers, hypertension, psoriasis and even heart disease. There have been many studies on the relationship of depression, anxiety and stress with heart disease (2). In fact, the study concludes that depression and anxiety are directly responsible for diseases like myocardial infarction (3).

[ Read: Remedies For Bipolar Disorder ]

Somatoform Disorders:

Mental factors that lead to physical conditions are usually referred to as somatisation. Somatoform disorders are usually severe cases of somatisation. Somatoform disorders can lead to long-term damage, both mental and physical. Usually, people with somatoform disorders believe that their symptoms have a physical cause (4).

Symptoms Of Psychosomatic Disorder:

Now that we know that psychosomatic disorders usually begin in the mind, let’s look at the symptoms of this condition. The mind is a fickle thing, and it can induce all sorts of pessimistic thoughts. As mentioned above, psychosomatic disorder has many symptoms, which can include:

  • Quickened heart rate
  • Palpitation (thumping in the heart)
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Perspiration
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Faintness
  • Excess Fatigue
  • A knot in the stomach
  • Fast breathing
  • Neurologic problems
  • Gastrointestinal complaints

Causes Of Psychosomatic Disorder:

How mental conditions like depression, anxiety and stress trigger physical symptoms is not entirely clear. Some reports conclude that increased nerve impulse activity when you are anxious, depressed or stressed can be one of the contributing factors for the physical symptoms.

Sometimes, adrenaline and epinephrine releases can also trigger physical symptoms as adrenaline release also increases when you are anxious.

Mostly, psychosomatic disorders and other severe forms like somatoform disorders are caused by emotional stress. So, remember to keep stress at bay.

There have been many studies and a recent one on how stress causes illness among nurses concludes that burnout is one of the main causes of this particular condition (5).

Treating Psychosomatic Disorder:

We know that depression can trigger heart attack. We know that stress can lead to hypertension. We also know that nerve impulse activity and overwork can trigger psychosomatic illness. What we don’t know yet is how to treat this condition. As the disease is not basically physical unlike the symptoms, there should be a balance of emotional and physical treatment for afflicted people.

Usually, specific drugs are required to eliminate the physical symptoms. Most doctors also recommend physicians to psychiatrists for therapy, as the drugs only provide temporary relief (6). An anxious person will likely suffer a relapse of the physical symptoms.

You can also consider other forms of therapy, like yoga, meditation and relaxation exercises to cure psychosomatic disorders. As these disorders are triggered by mental conditions like anxiety and stress, consider taking part in stress busting activities like meditation or yoga.

If yoga or meditation doesn’t sound like you, then take part in activities that help you relax. You can even consider using aromatherapy to rid yourself of unwanted stress and depression. This will significantly reduce your chances of contracting psychosomatic disorders. Psychosomatic diseases are difficult to deduce and treat. However, why they occur isn’t difficult to understand.

A doctor one said that psychosomatic disorder is all in the head! Well, it certainly is. So, the next time you get unnecessarily stressed, remember that stress and anxiety can lead to something more dangerous than a temporary feeling of anger, depression or frustration.

Share this post with your friends and family and tell them about the ill-effects of worrying too much. Please share with us any experiences of psychosomatic disorders, or any techniques you use to get rid of anxiety. Leave a comment below!

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