“Psychosomatic is a physical ill health or different condition caused or aggravated by a mental issue like internal conflict or stress.”
What Does Psychosomatic Mean?
The term psychosomatic refers to real physical symptoms that arise from or are influenced by the mind’s nursing emotions instead of a particular organic cause within the body (such as an injury or infection).
A psychosomatic sickness originates from or is aggravated by emotional stress and manifests within the body as physical pain and different symptoms.
Depression also can contribute to psychosomatic sickness, particularly once the body’s system has been weakened by severe and/or chronic stress.
A common thought is that psychosomatic conditions are fanciful or “all within the head.”
In reality, physical symptoms of psychosomatic conditions are real and need treatment just as the other sickness would.
Unfortunately, effective treatment is not perpetually available in a timely or effective manner.
The pervasive social stigma connected to psychosomatic sickness could stop somebody from seeking treatment.
Even once somebody does obtain treatment, stigma also exists in analysis and medical communities, partially as a result of the mechanisms that drive the stress-illness relationship not being totally understood.
You may not have thought a lot concerning the distinctive ways that stress manifests physically, however it is useful to find out a way to acknowledge that you are underneath extreme stress.
Once you establish the signs, you can work on reducing the impact stress has on your health.
While it appears like a sophisticated issue, there are some straightforward ways that you can determine if you’re excessively stressed.
Common physical signs of stress include:
Ø Athlete’s heart
Ø Perspiring palms
Ø Tense muscles
Ø “Butterflies” within the abdomen
Bodily signs of stress could also be different based on if you’re biologically male or female.
For example, girls usually report symptoms such as fatigue despite getting enough sleep, irritability, abdominal bloating, and changes to their menstrual cycles.
Signs and symptoms of stress in men, on the opposite hand, often incorporate pain, accumulated pressure, and changes in sex drive.
Symptoms of stress additionally vary by age.
Youngsters usually show stress through their bodies because they haven’t developed the language to speak how they feel.
As an example, a baby that has frequent stomach aches at their preschool should be sent home and possibly remain home.
Stress within the adolescent years can be particularly intense, especially due to periods of major social adjustment.
Sometimes, signs of stress in individuals during this time period could also be lost or attributed to “teen angst” instead of adolescent depression.
Seniors also are vulnerable to depression, as they’re usually dealing with many changes in their life that lead to feelings such as isolation, loss, and grief, and chronic or serious health issues.
If you’re caring for an elder in a nursing home, make sure you are able to recognize the signs of depression in older adults.
Disorders associated with Corporeal Symptom Disorder
Several conditions associated with CSD are currently shown in psychological medicine. These include:
Individuals with this disorder are preoccupied with the idea that they are always sick.
They will believe that minor issues are signs of terribly serious medical issues.
For instance, they will believe that a typical headache may be a sign of a neoplasm.
Conversion disorder is also known as Neurologic Symptom Disorder.
This condition is diagnosed once individuals have neurological symptoms that cannot be connected to a medical cause.
For instance, patients might have symptoms such as:
- Weakness or palsy
- Abnormal movements (such as tremor, unsteady gait, or seizures)
- Hearing loss
- Loss of sensation
Stress typically makes symptoms of conversion hysteria worse.
Other Specific Corporeal Symptoms and Connected Disorders. This class describes things within which corporeal symptoms occur for fewer than six months or might involve a particular condition known as a physiological state.
For example, there may be a misconception a lady has that she is pregnant due to the development of a larger abdomen, feeling labor pains, nausea, fetal movement, breast changes, and halt in menstrual period.
How Stress Impacts Your Health
There are different causes of stress, several of which might be positive. Eustress is what makes life vitalizing and fascinating.
It is a feeling that gets up in the morning and keeps you moving.
If you have ever enjoyed the fun of a roller coaster ride or felt pleasure and fulfillment once finishing a project, you have experienced “good” stress.
On the other hand, if you have ever known a significant loss, experienced a giant life modification, or endured other stressors, you might understand what “bad” stress feels like.
Just like you’ll feel the giddiness and raised feelings of good stress everywhere, the negative effects of dangerous stress is felt in your mind and your body.
While the precise mechanisms aren’t fully understood, researchers have discovered that stress and depression can be expressed as physical pain and sickness.
Compare your body to a teapot. If it’s allowed to vent its steam, it works with efficiency.
If it can’t vent steam, the pressure continues to make till the lid blows off. Now, imagine that the cookware is besieged already and you apply a lot of pressure to keep the lid on.
Eventually the teapot will break under the pressure.
Like the teapot giving way at the weakest point of its structure, stress-related sickness can develop wherever your body is already weakened.
The World Health Organization has stated that those not capable of “venting” their emotions or those who try to “keep it all in” can eventually reach an emotional snapping point.
It’s going to manifest as physical symptoms or trigger an episode of major depression.
In retrospect, you’ll notice there have been some warning signs or “clues” that such an occasion was coming—especially in terms of the physical symptoms you experience.
For example, if your neck has perpetually been your physical weakness, you’ll realize your pain will increase after you are stressed.
Back pain, abdomen pain, and headaches are other common ways that stress could show itself in your body.
How Stress Will Cause You to Get Sick
Stress will also compromise your immunity. Some individuals realize that once they are stressed, they’re a lot more likely to catch a cold or other contagious disease.
They’ll additionally become more likely to get a lot of infections.
The chemicals associated with stress are an important part of the body’s “fight or flight” response to fretting and may be very helpful.
However, if the body has high amounts of these chemicals or they continue to increase to the point where stressing out consumes your time, these chemicals could do a lot of damage.
When you go to your doctor with physical symptoms, they’ll usually look first for a physical manifestation of your pain.
If there’s no obvious physical cause that they can simply take a look at, determining a diagnosis and a procedure for treatment could be tough.
When this happens, individuals may feel that their doctor isn’t taking their symptoms seriously, thinks the person is making it up, or that it’s “all in their head.”
When your doctor can’t realize a clear physical cause for your pain, they’ll speak with you about how you’re feeling emotionally.
The hope is that if a source of stress is known, it is treated (just as you’d get treated for an injury or illness).
When a doctor asks you questions concerning stress in your life, a doctor doesn’t mean to imply that your pain isn’t real.
Symptoms caused by stress that you feel in your body are real.
Your doctor might want you to speak to a psychologist, however, that’s to not say that your physical symptoms only need psychological treatment.
It’s necessary to find out a way to effectively manage stress, however, that’s usually a method that may take time.
In the meantime, you might wish to treat your physical pain and other symptoms.
For example, if you have got pain in your neck, learning to deal with nerve-racking triggers will actually facilitate the pain from happening—but the pain isn’t solely in your mind.
While it’d begin in your brain, stress will cause a cascade of chemicals in your body that produce inflammation within the muscles of your neck that eventually causes you pain.
You might be prescribed anti-inflammatory drug medications or another style of treatment for this, like massages or physiotherapy to manage your pain.
Another useful analogy is to consider psychosomatic sickness as a flooded stream that happens when a dam breaks.
The most necessary step for preventing a lot of flooding is to repair the dam.
However, it’s also necessary to handle the flooding that’s already happened while the dam is being repaired.
If you are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Psychological State Services Administration for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
Once you know a way to recognize that you are stressed and have identified sources of stress in your life, the consequent step is to find out coping mechanisms.
One of the most important ways to do this is to avoid holding in your feelings.
As you’re functioning on developing coping mechanisms for combating stress, check to examine if you have got any unhealthy coping mechanisms, like overusing alcohol.
There are innumerable strategies for healthy coping; it’s simply a matter of finding what works best for you.
Here are a couple of concepts to get you started.
Ø Open up to someone
Ø Become part of a support group
Ø Learn relaxation techniques
Ø Be honest with others (and yourself)
Ø Build time for leisure activities you value
Ø Explore fun new activities that do not stress you out
Ø Take a break if you are in an exceedingly nerve-racking state of affairs
Ø Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and make a chilled sleep area
Ø Discarding of grudges, patterns of thinking, or relationships that aren’t healthy or useful for you
Ø Do one thing nice for somebody else (and make sure to do nice things for yourself, too)
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general
Frequently Asking Questions
Is anxiety similar to Hypochondria?
Anxiety is completely different from hypochondria, though, just like the latter, the previous will result in severe anxiety concerning one’s medical welfare.
Basic anxiety will grow to become health anxiety, a psychological disorder that describes an obsession with a perceived medical condition.
Is the word psycho-somatic an oxymoron?
If the brain is anatomy and therefore the mind is physiology (debatable, of course) then, sure enough, the identification of psychosomatic disorders seems to contradict itself.
This raises the question of whether or not the mind is viewed as a non-material entity, even perhaps as a variable that may affect the brain
Here are some novels on Amazon that speak about psychosomatic medicine and conditions:
- When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection