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Old 24-02-2024, 02:36 PM
Found Goat Found Goat is offline
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Psychosomatic Ailments, Disorders, And Disease

That the mind can and often does affect one's physical health is something most of us understand, but how understood is mind-body relations within the medical profession?

My interest in psychosomatic disorders is largely a result of my occasionally to regularly experiencing the power of the unconscious mind in relation to the appearance of bodily effects.

In saying this, I am not simply speaking of, say, being organically aroused at the sight of an attractive young woman -- this, a normal and everyday cause-and-effect which most men can relate to -- but in the sense that the unconscious can also produce real sensations and physical effects of a not necessarily medically recognized nature.

Personally, I have undergone bouts where I know the cause of a seemingly medical ailment I've been experiencing to be in large part, if not entirely, psychogenic in origin, only to find myself at a loss as to who in the medical field to turn to for professional assistance. Commonly, however, after a few days or weeks, the symptoms disappear on their own, and my equilibrium is restored.

Genuine somatogenic ailments notwithstanding, there is something to be said for the psychosomatic diagnosis.

A state of nervousness, for example, may cause a person to sweat...and not simply due to a heat source. A shy person stands in front of an audience to speak, which leads to his face turning red...and not because he suffers from high-blood pressure or alcoholism. For some women, the mere sight of a heartthrob can make their tickers beat faster...but do these ones necessarily suffer from hypertension? A claustrophobic may begin to hyperventilate if finding himself in an elevator filled to capacity...and not on account of any drugs he has ingested.

In olden times, it is said that simply being in the presence of a handsome gallant would cause many an inhibited mid-Victorian lady to faint.

I read of a case in which one MD reported abnormal heart rates in his patients while in his presence, which the doc chalked up to their anxiety at seeing his stethoscope, since outside of his office remote heart-rate monitors showed their hearts to beat normally.

All these examples -- and several more could be given -- illustrate the reality of mind-body relations, and by extension, in some cases the genuine power of autosuggestion as it relates to supposed medical disorders and disease.

An overburdened man keels over from a heart-attack. To say that this person died of a damaged heart is a no-brainer and may only be partially true, if failing to take into consideration a possible psychosomatic root cause for the fatal abnormality, which in some instances might very well be entirely stress-induced. One has heard of heart disease being shown to occur more in those people with 'Type A' behavior, just as peptic ulcers may in some cases be (partially) stress-related, as well.

To emphasize, psychogenic is to be distinguished from psychoneurosis. In the case of the latter, an example may be given, as in reports of women believing themselves to be pregnant, only for medical examinations to uncover no physical cause for such a belief (a condition termed 'pseudocyesis'). Which is to say, when speaking of psychosomatic ailments and the like, often various stressors are involved, stressors which can produce a genuine organic effect (often in those with weak constitutions), be it an upset stomach upon hearing disturbing news, chronic muscular tension about the upper back and shoulders, etc; whereas, in the case of psychoneurosis, no bodily effects actually occur and whatever anxiety is felt is strictly the result of an overactive imagination.

That the psyche or the unconscious has the power to upset one's autonomic nervous system, to throw it temporarily out of whack, for example, this I have experienced for myself, as one who is inward and who thus tends to internalize or 'bottle up' his feelings. Or in the case of a relative of mine who's a chronic worrywart -- gastrointestinal issues are experienced.

All this is obviously not to suggest that organic ailments and disease of an entirely physical -- as opposed to psychological -- origin do not occur, nor is this intended to belittle the admitted value and importance of allopathic medicine, but only to show that in some cases it is difficult to tell the difference between the psychosomatic and somatogenic symptom; an understanding which I think many within the medical community fail to appreciate.
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Old 24-02-2024, 07:45 PM
Podshell Podshell is offline
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This is a subject that interests me due to some of the ailments I have suffered with and learned to cope with or cure so I make a judgement from my own experieces and ignore a lot of collected data as I feel it can be less reliable than my own hands on experience.
I suffered with bad asthma as a child and grew to realise it was a combination of an allergy with a panic feed,like a loop that fed on itself increasing the severity,I learnt later not to panic and relax during the wheezing episodes,still not pleasant but far far better.(I hope to post more later re panic attacks and also liver or other organ functions in brain disturbance and also the reluctance of GPs to look into underlying causes,eg expensive scans when it is easier to give cerain drugs or send one for therapy)
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Old 29-02-2024, 08:55 PM
Found Goat Found Goat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podshell
This is a subject that interests me due to some of the ailments I have suffered with and learned to cope with or cure so I make a judgement from my own experieces and ignore a lot of collected data as I feel it can be less reliable than my own hands on experience.
I suffered with bad asthma as a child...
When I first heard that asthma could be psychosomatic in origin, I must admit I was at first skeptical, until I came across recorded accounts in which children, adopted by an asthmatic parent -- kids who had never experienced breathing problems before -- ended up acquiring the very same ailment themselves.
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Old 29-02-2024, 09:37 PM
Found Goat Found Goat is offline
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As a highly sensitive individual -- meaning, sensitivity as it relates to processing stimuli -- it has led me to wonder whether a person possessing a heightened awareness of the senses is more prone to this curious quasi-medical phenomenon than hardened, rough-and-ready types. Whatever the case, thankfully, as enervating as some of these bouts have been for me, these have only been of the fleeting 'ailments' variety; somewhat skeptical I still am of the unconscious mind being capable of generating full-out disease.

Interestingly, I recall the story of a pre-modern mesmerist who, as an experiment and with the consent of volunteers, would place willing participants under hypnosis, at which time various suggestions of a bodily nature were instilled into their subconscious minds, suggestions that later manifested in their conscious state upon their regaining full awareness. You will feel numbness in your legs once you awaken, it was told them at a subliminal level (paraphrasing here), and such would be experienced, and so forth. It is worth noting that these experiments took place at a time when men and women were more refined and genteel than adults of today, back when doctors would make house calls, only to find nothing apparently wrong with many a 'bed case' -- ultra-feminine women mostly, unable to move and function due to debilitating 'nerves'.

So it is that the fragile psychosomatic in me has grown to appreciate the power that the unconscious can have over one's bodily health. As one who intermittently suffers from mild anxiety, there's been times when a panic attack has caused me to believe that I am on the verge of experiencing a cardiac arrest (certainly, the physical sensations lead me to think so), only to rush myself to Emergency and have hospital medical staff inform me of their tests showing nothing organically the matter with me. (Their reassuring words, akin to a placebo.)

Now, if only general practitioners would be this thorough in their diagnosis of their patients' symptoms. Whether a result of GPs being pressed for time and/or their being in cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry -- speaking only for myself, what I've found is that too often a GP is quick to want to put the patient on a drug, without the doctor considering a possible psychosomatic explanation for the symptoms described. An argument could be made that in some cases such behavior amounts to gross negligence on the part of general practitioners. As just one example, I know someone who was prescribed lithium (in extremely careful doses so as not to cause disastrous harm) when what ultimately ended up curing the person was, simply, deep breathing exercises and healing, self-directed affirmations.

Fact is, when it comes to psychosomatic ailments and disorders, Western medical science, at least, generally appears disinclined to take this phenomenon seriously, trained as it is to view the human body as a machine and thus only in need of a strictly mechanistic solution. Whereas, the unconscious mind can sometimes create in the body real effects resembling organic causes.

One psychosomatic I know reports experiencing both tongue and throat stress whenever she finds herself becoming overly anxious, occasionally accompanied by observable rapid muscle twitching, and yet has now come to understand herself so well that she knows what these are and that these unpleasant sensations pass on their own, without there being any need for a drug.

To reiterate, all this is not to suggest that allopathic medicine and meds do not have their place, but simply to say that medical science as we know it today does not have all the answers, in that it fails to take into consideration not only possible spiritually related issues when attempting to treat mental disorders, but also in its overlooking a possible mind-body connection as it here relates to various physical ailments and disorders.

As a closing aside, psychosomatic ailments may also take the form of a collective response, as well, in which entire groups of people -- or even a society at large -- may experience what is termed 'psychic contagion.' In one classic example of this, as documented in literature devoted to the study of unexplained phenomena, a group of students fell ill at exactly the same time, after a well-meaning rumor was started that a lethal poison had leaked into the school. Although the rumor turned out to be false, many within the classroom, at the mere thought of the suggestion, began to perspire heavily; others passed out or began retching, all believing an odorless gas was in the air.
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Old 02-03-2024, 10:56 AM
Podshell Podshell is offline
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Plenty of things that come to my mind there such as the children could be moving into an environment which contains trigger allergens. I shake and spray my bedding and avoid allergens but about seven years back I got wheezy and the blood tests only showed up the usual suspects as the don't test for everything,I worked out it was a geranium plant so moved it to kitchen,wheezing gone.
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Old 02-03-2024, 11:09 AM
Podshell Podshell is offline
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Anothe condition involved worsening tinnitus and mental disturbances but because blood test were OK then no scan considered but the problem persisted so the GP recommended CBT therapy,I reluctantly agreed ,months later and they confirm all OK mentally ie not an hyperchondriac, much later after changing doctors and condition continuing but bloods OK,CBT was offered again which I went through and collected the correspondence between GP and therapist ,his last letter to GP said'I can find nothing wrong mentally with the patient and I take it you have tested for all organic causes prior to referal here?' !,what a waste of money and time,I made a big fuss at the GPs and managed to get a scan which showed the problem.
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