Psychosomatic illnesses have interrelation with mind and body. In this condition the physical symptoms that the sufferer exhibits have an underlying mental orientation. During an examination, when the physician is not able to find any physical or organic cause of the illness, or if the physical symptoms appear to be due to emotional circumstances such as fear, anxiety, stress, anger, guilt etc, then it may be classified as psychosomatic. They are also called somatoform disorders.
Psychosomatic illnesses can be categorized in three varieties.
- First: People have both mental disorder as well as medical disorder.
- Second: Patient having mental sufferings due to a physical illness. Example, patient suffering from cancer may have severe depression as a consequence.
- Third: In this variety, the symptoms that a patient complaints of is related to psychological problem and there is no organic cause involved.
Causes Of Psychosomatic Illness
The exact cause for development of psychosomatic disease is not known. However, it has been observed to run in families and a genetic factor is also suspected. You may have seen many cases where due to anxiety and fear, the patient may complain of dryness in mouth, stomach spasm, chest pain, rapid breathing etc.
These all are physical symptoms experienced by the patient detected without any relevant organic cause. These symptoms appear as there is rush of adrenaline in the blood stream due to increase in the nerve impulses directed from the brain to different parts of the body.
Even after understanding this, the exact cause for development is not clear. For example we know that the symptoms aggravate after stress and strain in certain conditions such as psoriasis, hypertension, but what is the mechanism behind it remains unclear. It is also assumed that the cells of immune system may get affected by stress and anxiety and give rise to various physical disorders.
The risk of suffering from psychosomatic disorder increases when the patient has past history of physical and sexual abuse. People who are averse to express emotions are also at greater risk of suffering from psychosomatic illness.
Psychosomatic Illness Symptoms
- The onset may be before the age of 30 years.
- Anxiety and depression
- Avoids mixing with people
- Menstrual problems
- Barrel vision or hysterical blindness.
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Urinary retention
- Patient becomes preoccupied with suffering from serious disease. He misinterprets his body symptoms. He persists with this notion even after proper medical evaluation and reassurance.
- Seeks constant reassurance from friends and relatives.
- Digestive disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea.
- Patient feels sad all the time.
- Has difficulty in remembering things.
- Insomnia and sleep related problems.
How To Cure Psychosomatic Illness?
Treating a person having psychosomatic illness is a challenging task, both for the physician as well as for the patient. Once the doctor has ruled out all the probabilities of physical cause precipitating the symptoms, it is necessary for the patient to trust him and go for a regular follow up.
The patient may need to consult a psychiatrist. He may start cognitive behavioral therapy which may address the psychological problems that are responsible for underlying physical symptoms.
Symptomatic relief from the symptoms can also be obtained with proper medication. They are useful in giving relief from headache, pain, digestive disturbances.
Patient should manage stress and anxiety. Alternative therapies are valuable. Disorders such as migraine, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, and allergy can be successfully treated with homeopathy as well as naturopathy. Yoga and meditation are useful for relieving stress and anxiety in a person.