Psychosomatic illnesses describe a disorder that involves both mind and body. In other words, the illness may be emotional or mental in origin, but also have physical symptoms. Psychosomatic illnesses are not imaginary. They are physical disorders in which both emotions and thought patterns are believed to play a central role, and usually develop when a person's disease-fighting ability is weakened due to stress. Somatoform Disorders is the relatively new term used to describe a group of disorders varcharacterized by physical symptoms that cannot be fully explained by a neurological or generalized medical condition.
Causes of Psychosomatic Illness
Some factors can cause stress-related physical responses. Sometimes these psychological factors may be true psychological disorders that affect a medical condition. An example would be someone who is so depressed that they cannot follow the steps to take care of their diabetes. Sometimes the factors are psychological symptoms, rather than disorders. An example would be someone whose anxiety makes their irritable bowel syndrome worse. Personal styles or ways of coping can affect medical problems, too. An example would be someone in denial who does not change his eating or exercise habits after a heart attack. Poor health behaviors can be factors. An example would be a person who keeps having unsafe sex in spite of getting sexually transmitted diseases. Sometimes a person's body reacts physically to stress. This can be a factor that affects a medical problem, as well. An example would be someone who has heart problems but gets severe chest pain when stressed. There is a close connection between our bodies and our minds. If a person has a psychological factor affecting a medical condition, it is important to treat the psychological problem as well as the medical problem.
Signs and Symptoms of Psychosomatic Illness
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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