By Chisom Onwuekwe
Did you know that the amount of stress people feel largely depends on their analysis, interpretation or perception of situations? This analysis is carried out in our thoughts yet, the mind and body are connected, so much that our thoughts produce physical results.
Mental and emotional imbalance often start as stress and as such, psychosomatic illnesses originate from or are aggravated by emotional stress and manifests in the body as physical pain and other symptoms.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines psychosomatic as: of, relating to, involving, or concerned with bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance.
Psychosomatic means mind (psyche) and body (soma). Therefore, a psychosomatic disorder is a disorder which involves both the body and mind. A psychosomatic component is often inferred when there are some aspects of a patient’s presentation that are unaccounted for by biological factors, or some cases where there is no biological explanation at all. For example, I know someone who would experience chest pain and shortness of breath when stressed.
Some treatments for Psychosomatic Disorder include; Cognitive Base Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, etc.
Concluding with the words of Neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan:
“Psychosomatic illness can be caused by different types of psychological distress. For some people, it is more of a behavioral disorder in which their symptoms arise as a result of the way they respond to injury, trauma, illness, stress at work or stresses in their home, life and so forth.
I think we now know that for some people there is a stressor or trauma, and for other people it’s more of a way that we perceive our bodies. What I’m learning through working with people who suffer in this way is that the pain of their illness is every bit as intense as the pain of a disease.
There is a common misconception that psychosomatic conditions are imaginary or “all in the head. They are real and require treatment just as any other illness would.”
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