Do you often feel physically ill because of anxiety or stress? Psychosomatic illness is when psychological stress starts affecting your physical body. Difficulty while breathing, clammy palms, racing heartbeat, feeling uneasy, and jittery are common symptoms experienced by people suffering from psychosomatic illness. The symptoms can often lead to panic attacks.
What are the consequences if these symptoms occur frequently and hinder your daily life? What happens if you become too engrossed in those symptoms? And how do you differentiate between psychosomatic signs from severe medical problems?
Are Psychosomatic Illnesses in Your Head?
Often psychosomatic disorders are stigmatized as something that’s ‘just in your head’, leading people to feel shame and avoid treatment. In actuality, psychosomatic symptoms are genuine and entail action, just like other illnesses. Regrettably, operational treatment is often unavailable in an effective or timely way. Medical and research societies include stigma with psychosomatic illness as a serious issue.
Let’s observe below what psychosomatic illness is, the symptoms, types, root cause, diagnosis, and treatment it requires.
What Is A Psychosomatic Illness?
A psychological ailment leading to physical symptoms devoid of medical reasons is called a psychosomatic disorder. It affects several areas of the human body. Frequent medical care is required by people who suffer from this disorder and when the diagnosis is unavailable, it can be exasperating. Excessive feelings, timid emotional state, or anxieties about the symptoms, affects the way people function daily.
Psychosomatic disorder victims generally avoid reporting explicit symptoms of cerebral distress. Instead, they rely on the fact that medical circumstances triggered difficulties. They tend to go frequently to healthcare workers to get treatments and tests, and repeatedly not getting a diagnosis leads to distress and frustration.
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What Are The Types Of Psychosomatic Illness?
Overall classifications of psychosomatic illness exist. Firstly, a person has a physical and mental ailment, whose signs and supervision obscure each other. Secondly, a person who goes through mental concerns because of the medical disorder and its conduct. Thirdly, a condition called a somatoform syndrome, in which physical symptoms are experienced without medical associations. They are further categorized into:
Hypochondriasis is a state in which people consider a slight corporeal symptom to be a serious sickness. For example, determining the momentary pomposity issue into colon cancer.
Conversion disorder is when a person doesn’t experience neurological symptoms like seizures, which disrupts senses and movement.
Somatization Disorder is when an individual senses recurrent diarrhea and headaches, but it doesn’t transmit to a grave medical ailment.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is when a person becomes tense about the way their body appears, such as obesity and wrinkles, often causing anorexia.
Pain disorder is when a person goes through intense pain over different body parts lasting over half a year to a full year, minus any somatic source—for example, back pains, migraines, etc.
Psychosomatic Vs. Somatoform Disorder
Somatoform disorders are the main types of psychosomatic illness. The somatic signs of somatoform disorders are factual. They include psychological origins as a replacement for corporal causes. The symptoms frequently resemble symptoms of severe medical disorders. Whereas emotional influences cause psychosomatic illness.
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Psychogenic Pain Vs. Psychosomatic Pain
Psychogenic pain and psychosomatic pain are expressions that define physical pain because of psychological reasons, or pain arising but lacking medical enlightenment. Research specifies that:
- Psychogenic pain is discomfort that is a consequence of mental or emotional stress or mental, or an outcome of a psychological illness. Even though pain cannot be recognized or clarified over physical testing.
- Psychosomatic pain is soreness because of a somatic disorder that is produced or deteriorated by distress or mental stress. Cases of somatic sickness contain autoimmune conditions, endocrine syndromes, or infections leading to psychological symptoms.
What Are The Signs Of Psychosomatic Illness?
Recognizing your symptoms during extremely stressful situations is crucial. You may not have thought much about the way stress displays pain physically, but it’s helpful to study how to recognize when you are under extreme stress. The role of stress in somatization is quite impactful.
Once you learn to identify your stress triggers, working on reducing the effects is possible. Common symptoms include digestive issues, shaking or dizziness or shaking, muscle aches and pain, increased blood pressure, headaches, and racing heart.
Gender-Based Psychosomatic Symptoms
Gender-based psychosomatic symptoms include physical indicators of stress depending on your gender. For example, stressed females frequently have symptoms like exhaustion (despite receiving sufficient sleep), variations in menstrual periods, stomach bloating, and irritability, abdominal bloating. For males, symptoms contain deviations in sex drive, increased blood pressure, and chest pain.
Age-Based Psychosomatic Symptoms
Age-based psychosomatic symptoms differ by age. Youngsters often exhibit stress through their physical bodies since they haven’t developed communication skills yet. Common factors include headaches and stomachaches in children so they can be sent home.
Psychosomatic Illness in Adolescents
Teen years are immensely stressful, especially during puberty. Adults often joke about teen angst, but in reality, adjusting to social situations is extremely taxing. Teenagers often fall victim to substance abuse which causes extreme mental illness like substance abuse disorder.
Depression is a common symptom in the elderly due to grief, isolation, and loss or declining health.
How Does Stress Manifest As Illness?
Stress is often not taken seriously by people. When you are subjected to emotional pain, the body discharges hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help shield us from nerve-wracking situations and act quickly.
However, extreme quantities of trauma hormones released affect uncomfortable signs like heart issues, digestive issues, and other psychosomatic symptoms. Stress hormones affect instabilities in serotonin stages and weaken your immune structure, which intensifies or deteriorates physical illnesses.
Root Causes Of Psychosomatic Illness
Emotional stress intensifies a psychosomatic illness and affects the body in the form of physical pain, psychogenic pain, or other signs. Depression also causes psychosomatic illness, often causing the immune system to become weak.
Stress has many types including positive and negative stress. Positive stress is called eustress, which makes life stimulating and fascinating. It allows you to be motivated when you wake up. Enjoying the thrill of enjoying a ride at the amusement park is called experiencing “good” stress. On the other hand, negative stress gives you anxiety and trauma after experiencing a life-changing event. Both stresses affect your physical body, often giving you symptoms and pain that cause psychosomatic illness.
How Is Psychosomatic Illness Diagnosed?
The doctor will first inspect you to reach the root of your pain. However, when a physical cause is not available, diagnosing becomes tricky. Dual diagnosis and psychosomatic conditions may make it difficult for proper treatment to take place.
People going through the symptoms of the psychosomatic illness may assume that their doctor isn’t taking them seriously, or that they made their symptoms up. The individual’s emotional state is considered in such a situation.
People going through a somatic symptom disorder have a psychological assessment conducted by their doctors. Your history of fear, symptoms, stress situation, concerns, family history, and relationship problems are taken into consideration. Specialists perform multiple medical tests to explain to their clients. Diagnosis for a psychosomatic illness is difficult, but not impossible.
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Successfully Treating Psychosomatic Illness
It’s important to listen to the treatment plan laid out by your doctor and go through it step-by-step. Due to no medical explanation of physical symptoms, psychosomatic illness is often treated psychologically through therapy. Your physical symptoms are treated as a medical condition to help with the pain. The mind-body connection is quite powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Stress is often the root cause of many disorders. Doctors recommend stress reduction exercises for such cases. Therapy also provides alternative coping mechanisms for anxiety-like taking up hobbies that help distract you. Mindfulness and meditation for stress are essential for the treatment of psychosomatic illness.
Residential Treatment For Psychosomatic Illness
A residential treatment for psychosomatic illness includes:
Going to rehab for treatment is always a good idea. You’ll have a dedicated team of specialists to help you recover. A great rehab for residential treatment is Emerald Isle Health & Recovery. Their expertise is in addiction treatment with a special focus on mental health.
At Emerald Isle Health and Recovery, you can explore flexible treatment that caters to the needs of the clients. They constantly explore new approaches, offer behavioral therapy, and are integrating innovative methods to help people in their struggle with psychosomatic illness, substance abuse, and other psychological disorders.
Emerald Isle aims to enhance the quality of life of its clients by helping them begin an effective journey towards getting better. Residential rehab is often the first step towards recovery.
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Long Term Recovery From Psychosomatic Conditions
Psychoanalysis is the treatment of anxiety and depression disorder. It’s a long-term process that takes several years. The psychoanalyst makes note of the client’s dreams and memories to help evaluate their mental status.
Abreaction therapy relies on getting rid of the feelings related to stressful events. The period compulsory for this therapy is extensive in comparison with other treatments.
Francine Shapiro was a psychologist from the USA who found EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). EMDR is a method of psychotherapy used for determining the signs of stressful and other traumatic experiences. Francine Shapiro and EMDR origins speculated that trauma affects negative sentiments to be contained by the memory of the shocking event.
EMDR doesn’t depend on medications or conversion therapy. Instead, EMDR allows the victim of psychosomatic illness to use their recurring eye movement. The movements reduce the influence of emotional memories of former distressing events.
Is Lasting Recovery from Psychosomatic Illness Possible?
It’s vital to understand that psychosomatic illness is a disorder that can happen to anyone. Seeking professional help is brave, not shameful. It can help you lead a happier life. Emerald Isle Health & Recovery is the place for you to start your recovery journey from psychosomatic illness.
Individual therapy sessions with expert therapists assist in figuring out your psychological symptoms, and how to overcome them. Their in-house rehabilitation center allows you to stay and be evaluated by our specialists round-the-clock. Emerald Isle creates a support system dedicated to helping you improve your health, both throughout your stay and with our acclaimed aftercare and Alumni programs.
Reach out to our Admissions team today to put your struggles with psychosomatic illness in the past and begin experiencing healthy, symptom-free enjoyment of life!