The connection between soul and body, mental and physical, consciousness and matter, has been of interest to a man at all times. The idea that a person’s health is inseparable from his soul is reflected both in the Bible and in the first works of the philosopher Plato. To date, several dozen different theories have been developed, each of which explains the occurrence of psychosomatic diseases from the point of view of medicine and psychology. In the material, we understand what psychosomatics is and what effect it has on health.
What is considered a psychosomatic illness?
In modern medicine, psychosomatic conditions are caused by a combination of physiological and mental factors. Even though the relationship between the mind and the body has been studied for several centuries, it is still one of the most challenging topics in medicine.
At the present stage of the development of medicine, several diseases are distinguished that psychosomatic disorders can trigger:
- gastrointestinal diseases;
- skin diseases, itching;
- ulcerative colitis;
- heart attack;
- psychosomatics of eating behavior;
- frequent headaches;
However, it should be understood that these diseases do not always signal psychosomatic problems. The development of any condition may be associated with other natural causes.
Who may be affected by a psychosomatic disorder
Research shows that psychosomatic illnesses are most often encountered by people who suppress negative emotions and experience problems within themselves. Moreover, the earlier psychological issues and trauma are detected, the more likely it is to identify a psychosomatic disorder. Psychologists identify several essential criteria that are inherent in people suffering from psychosomatic disorders:
- depression, severe anxiety;
- negative, destructive thoughts, self-blame;
- identification of the self with another person, an attempt to transfer their experience of the world to themselves;
- a high degree of self-hypnosis;
- the desire to manipulate with the help of a non-existent disease to achieve certain goals and attention.
Can negative emotions and stress lead to the development of various diseases?
Many studies have been conducted to date to support the relationship between psychological problems and the diseases they can lead to. For example, it has been scientifically proven that prolonged stress can trigger the development of diabetes.
This is because anxiety leads to an increase in the level of leptin in the body. And an increased content of leptin, a hormone that regulates energy metabolism, provokes a decrease in insulin production and worsens the tissue’s susceptibility to it. In the long term, these body conditions can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Can a psychotherapist identify and treat psychosomatic illness?
The first reason to suspect psychosomatics arises when specialists in somatic disorders – therapists, ENTs, and other doctors we are used to – cannot find the cause of the patient’s problems. Therefore, it is worth contacting a specialist in psychosomatics only after examination by other doctors.
Since psychosomatic illnesses arise from mental problems, they must be diagnosed by the attending physician and psychotherapist. The therapist’s role is to determine the nature of the patient’s emotionally unstable state and help cope with it. And the attending physician must prescribe the necessary drug treatment aimed directly at eliminating the symptoms of the disease.
What is mental hygiene, and what is its use
Modern psychologists and psychotherapists consider psychohygiene to be one of the most effective ways to prevent psychosomatic disorders. It aims to maintain and enhance mental health and improve the quality of life in general. Here are some tips you can follow to avoid problems that negatively affect your mental health:
- Get enough sleep.
On average, a person needs to sleep at least 7-9 hours a day to maintain health. Try to adhere to a certain daily routine and follow the rituals necessary for a comfortable sleep: ventilate the room, take relaxing baths and fall asleep in absolute silence and darkness.
- Limit the amount of negative information entering your brain.
Avoid watching TV in the background and surfing the Internet in the morning. Try to spend as much time as possible offline and learn information only from trusted sources.
- In order to avoid emotional exhaustion, normalize your work schedule and do not forget to devote a few hours daily to leisure or hobbies.
Avoid overworking and try not to focus too much on failures at work or conflicts with colleagues.
- You can get rid of emotional stress and accumulated fatigue with the help of sports.
Physical activity normalizes the work of the whole organism and has a positive effect on the psyche. Take time to warm up or run every day so that the body gets the strength and energy it needs.
- Avoid reading pseudoscientific journals and articles.
Sometimes such materials promote unhealthy attitudes towards medicine and pay a lot of attention to secondary factors in developing diseases. First of all, faced with health problems, turn to a narrow specialist who will prescribe quality treatment and determine the root of the disease.
Only if mental disorders or nervous exhaustion are a factor in the development of the illness should a psychotherapist be employed to treat psychosomatic disorders.