How can you explain psychological pain

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy


Unexplained organic complaints often have psychological causes

If a person has physical complaints without any organic causes for their suffering can be determined, a so-called somatoform disorder may be behind it.

If a person has physical complaints without any organic causes for their suffering can be determined, a so-called somatoform disorder can be behind it. "Back, head, neck or joint pain, racing heart, sweating, dizziness or shortness of breath can express stressful life situations, stress or fears and hidden depressions. In addition to ruling out an organic cause, it is therefore important to also consider psychological influences on a certain clinical picture, ”says Prof. Dr. med. Martin Bohus from the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology (DGPPN) in Berlin. “Sufferers often have numerous physical exams with no results before a psychological trigger is considered. You should then not be afraid of psychiatric-psychotherapeutic treatment. ”Medically unclear physical complaints that are due to psychological influences can be multifaceted. Gastrointestinal complaints such as flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and food intolerance, as well as a painful period in women or movement disorders, can occur. The symptoms of a somatoform disorder are just as stressful as an organic disease. The tension caused by the complaints and the resulting increased attention to body signals often lead to a worsening of symptoms in the sick in a vicious circle. In addition, the physical symptoms usually have sequelae or side effects that put additional strain on the life of those affected. "Sexual indifference, concentration problems, mood swings, depression and other impairments in social life often occur in parallel with a somatoform disorder," explains the professor for psychosomatics and psychotherapeutic medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg. "Most of those affected also develop protective or avoidance behavior in order to reduce the physical complaints, which further exacerbates the problem and promotes social isolation." Those affected often judge their symptoms in a negatively distorted manner. They are very worried about their health and the possible consequences of the discomfort and pay very close attention to physical changes and sensations. “In behavior therapy, strategies can be developed to cope better with physical complaints, which improves the quality of life. For example, in a patient with pain without an organic cause, training the attention away from this stimulus can significantly improve the symptoms, ”explains Prof. Bohus, who is also the Medical Director of the Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim It is estimated that up to a third of patients who see a general practitioner because of diffuse symptoms or pain suffer from a somatoform disorder.

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