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Psychosomatic Disorders : Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Wednesday, August 1st 2012. | Disease, Mental Health

Psychosomatic Disorders Definition

Suspected of psychosomatic disorders occur when physical symptoms for which there is no medical explanation. It is therefore of psychological disorders manifested by physical symptoms.

One characteristic of these disorders is that the subject, looking for a physical explanation, went to many doctors, the following treatments in series, without notable success.

In the foreground are signs of general symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion and pain. Cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems are common.

Psychosomatic Disorders Causes

The birth of psychosomatic disorders resulting from the combination of several factors, including biological, psychological and social. Part of genetic predisposition is also under discussion. Psychosocial factors seem to lie in the foreground.

The main psychosocial factors:

  • Stress causing permanent organ dysfunction
  • Vicious cycle of physical symptoms, leading to fear and increased surveillance of these symptoms
  • Often unconscious psychic conflicts (fear, rage, anger) manifesting as physical symptoms
  • Patients with psychosomatic disorders have often experienced painful events in their lives (divorce, death of loved ones, alcoholism, sexual abuse)

Psychosomatic Disorders Symptoms

Symptoms vary widely and can affect different organs. Here are the most common symptoms:

  • Pain in different body regions (head, back, chest, abdomen, lower abdomen)
  • Dizziness
  • Cardiocirculatory disorders: feeling short of breath, feeling of tension, stinging or tightness in the chest, arrhythmias
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: stomach or intestinal irritation with nausea, feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements
  • Urinary tract symptoms : irritable bladder, frequent, painful urination, difficulty urinating

Patients with psychosomatic disorders often suffer from psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders or personality disorders.


Psychosomatic Disorders

Psychosomatic Disorders Diagnosis

Often, patients with psychosomatic disorders end up being classified by physicians into the category of subjects ‘difficult’: the frustrating search for a physical cause for their ailments often ends well lead to disease. They do not understand why the doctor finds nothing, despite the symptoms they present. The doctor, often frustrated, advise them to go to another specialist, which does not necessarily interrupt the vicious circle.

If the doctor issues at one time or another, the idea that the disorder might be psychological in origin, many subjects feel rejected, cataloged and feel that their physical symptoms are not taken seriously.

Consequently, the patient goes to a doctor after another. For this reason, many patients have a long journey of suffering and illness behind them before psychosomatic disorders are detected for the first time.

Psychosomatic Disorders Treatment Options

Treatment is usually long and difficult. Many subjects have a long history of illness and suffering behind them before their problem is taken care of. It is not uncommon for the symptoms become chronic. Even if symptoms do not always disappear completely, they can at least be significantly reduced through appropriate treatment.

The relationship of trust between doctor and patient is essential. For it to be established, the patient’s symptoms must be taken seriously without giving rise to an over diagnosis. The patient should receive information on psychosomatic disorders and the interactions between physical and psychic.

Psychosomatic Disorders General measures

  • Healthy lifestyle: stop or at least reduced consumption of nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, regular and adequate sleep, healthy diet, adequate exercise
  • Relaxation techniques (autogenic training, yoga)


Physical therapy, Feldenkrais, respiratory therapy, relaxation function, dance therapy or art therapy often contribute to the alleviation of symptoms.


This type of treatment can include addressing stress or psychic conflicts that can only be controlled.

Psychosomatic Disorders Evolution

Seeking a medical explanation for symptoms often leads to patients in long and costly journey. It is not uncommon that many examinations or surgical procedures are performed without success.

Regular intake of analgesics can cause serious side effects and addictive.

Psychosomatic disorders are often associated with depression and anxiety disorders. Physicians also have an influence on evolution: overdiagnosis can generate new fears and contribute to the chronicity of symptoms.

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