Psychosomatic diseases. There are many illnesses that people encounter in the course of their lives. However, many symptoms are ignored, so that secondary diseases can develop. In this article, you will learn about the specifics of so-called psychosomatic illnesses and why it is important for doctors and medical professionals to be able to provide basic psychosomatic care.
What are psychosomatic diseases?
Psychosomatic illnesses are illnesses of the body that affect the body and can be triggered by psychological factors. Physical and psychological aspects cannot be separated from each other. If it is a psychosomatic illness, part of the cause is always to be found in the psychological sphere. This is manifested, for example, by stress, trauma or fears that have developed in the course of life.
Due to the fact that part or most of the illness is caused by mental complaints, in the fewest cases it is due to physical causes. Therefore it is difficult to find symptoms and the origin of them.
What are typical psychosomatic illnesses?
The most common psychosomatic illness is headache or the so-called migraine attack. Digestive complaints of any kind (for example diarrhea or constipation) are also possible. In most cases, no physical causes can be found during an examination. Therefore it is difficult to make a diagnosis. Other known disorders from the psychosomatic field are: Eating disorders, shortness of breath, hair loss, panic attacks, back/neck pain, heart palpitations, overtiredness and ear noises such as tinnitus.
Frequency of psychosomatic illnesses
Many people are struggling with mental stress, so psychosomatic illnesses have become commonplace in doctors' offices. For physicians and future physicians it is therefore particularly important to inform themselves about basic psychosomatic care of any kind.
More than 80% of people will be confronted with a psychosomatic illness in their lifetime. However, the symptoms of the disease usually disappear after some time on their own.
If you live under constant stress and take little time off, you should be careful that the temporary case of illness does not become a chronic one. When stress, anxiety and trauma increasingly take over one's life and interfere with everyday life, a so-called somatoform disorder develops, resulting in a chronic illness.
How is a psychosomatic illness diagnosed??
The symptoms of psychosomatic illnesses are not always visible. However, if it is a recognizable physical complaint, the cause of the illness is first investigated. However, if no physical cause is found, doctors ame that the illness is psychological in nature. Therefore, psychological diagnostics must be included.
Even though the cause of psychosomatic illnesses in most cases consists entirely of mental factors, it is important for the outsider to know that the physical complaints are nevertheless real and not imaginary.
Doctors, family and friends should therefore show understanding towards the affected person. Due to a lack of understanding and a growing uncertainty in the patient, the path to an accurate diagnosis often takes several years.
Dealing with people with a psychosomatic illness
Affected persons often struggle in everyday life with a lack of understanding towards the physical complaints, which cannot be found a cause on the physical level. As a relative or doctor, an understanding approach to the person is therefore highly relevant. Otherwise the insecurity towards the illness increases. Thus also towards oneself. As a result, many sufferers avoid going to the doctor because they have been persuaded that they are merely imaginary complaints. Confidants should recommend a visit to a therapist to the affected person, especially if a diagnosis has already been made.
Treatment options for psychosomatic illnesses
Psychosomatic illnesses can only be treated with therapy, since the causes are psychological. In most cases, psychotherapy helps to find reasons for the complaints. There are different ways and means that therapists can use to find causes and talk about them. Together with the patient, the therapist discusses the entire life situation and the associated burden of the illness and tries to find solutions. The duration of therapies is very individual depending on the degree of the psychosomatic illness. It is quite possible that the cause of the illness is deeply rooted in childhood. Long-term traumas are in most cases not overcome with a few therapy sessions. Affected persons sometimes visit different therapists for years in order to alleviate complaints and to be able to fully reintegrate themselves into everyday life.
What can you do in addition to therapy for a psychosomatic illness??
Together with the therapist or a counselor, you can practice relaxation techniques that allow you to leave everyday life behind a little bit. If these techniques are practiced regularly, they can already lead to a reduction of physical complaints. If it is no longer possible for you to cope with everyday life due to the mental and physical stress, you can have the therapist and family doctor prescribe medication, through which the symptoms can be reduced. However, the solution of healing psychosomatic diseases lies mainly in time.