Psychosomatic Pain, is it All in Your Mind?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Psychosomatic pain has been met with much resistance. The idea that someone can experience physical symptoms of back pain or migraines for example explained by a psychological cause seems unintelligible to many doctors and patients alike. In the past, this diagnosis ruled the pain was ‘all in the mind'. And no patient wants to be informed their symptoms are merely imaginary.

Such language has an air of judgment; however the good news is society is moving towards a more sympathetic understanding of psychosomatic pain.

Psychosomatic pain – a definition

“Psychosomatic disorder” is when a physical disease is exacerbated by mental health influences. For example, stomach pain may be triggered by stress with no detectable diseases present.

It is thought some physical diseases are more prone to be exacerbated by mental factors such as depression and anxiety.

The influence of mental health on physical conditions

Some physical diseases may be worsened by mental health issues. For example, eczema, high blood pressure and heart problems may all be exacerbated by mental health problems.

Psychosomatic disorders often negatively affect the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems in addition to the cardiovascular system. Plus psychosomatic pain can effect an individual’s quality of life.

The good news

Of course it might not feel like it at the time, however in some ways, a psychosomatic disorder diagnosis is good news as doctors providing the diagnosis should have ruled out more serious conditions that could have been causing symptoms.

Plus, this diagnosis can also avoid you from being prescribed lots of medications in a wasted attempt to treat you.

Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders

A common treatment for psychosomatic pain is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This therapy assists patients in acquiring new coping methods as they gain insights into the links between thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

Through CBT, individuals will also be empowered to set realistic life goals in addition to identifying and subsequently change behaviours and thoughts negatively affecting their lives.

Book a therapist for psychosomatic issues now.

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