How To Handle Psychosomatic Illness

Consulting with a doctor

Getting help for a psychosomatic illness can be difficult as the illness is poorly understood and the diagnosis may come after the patient has seen many different doctors. The symptoms of psychosomatic illness may include nausea, pain, fatigue and other vague symptoms which in reality do not have a physical source, but are just as real to the patient as if they were caused by a serious underlying medical condition. If you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea or other vague complaints such as fatigue, they may be caused by a real underlying medical disorder. The only way to tell if they are truly psychosomatic is to first rule out underlying medical conditions by being evaluated by a doctor.

For this reason do not attempt to diagnosis a psychosomatic illness in yourself, but rather seek professional help from a doctor who can make sure that you don't have a serious underlying medical condition. Once a physician believes that you have a psychosomatic disorder it is important to understand that the pain is caused by mental processes which have been converted into physical symptoms.

By enlisting the help of an understanding psychiatrist, a person suffering from a psychosomatic disorder can receive medication and psychiatric therapy to treat the root of the problem. The underlying problem may be a subconscious fear or conflict that the patient is unable to voice but turns into a physical complaint. The loss of a parent or other life changing events may lead to depression which can also be a root cause for a psychosomatic complaint such as severe abdominal discomfort. A combination of antidepressant medication in addition to psychotherapy can help to treat the underlying psychiatric disorder which is manifesting itself as physical complaints.

Because patients with psychosomatic illness truly feel real physical complaints they often seek the advice of medical doctors such as obstetricians and internal medicine physicians over psychiatrists as they do not want to feel that the problem is only "in their head." A calm and reassuring approach from a physician who dutifully approaches a patient's pain and takes it seriously is very important. Most physicians are trained to understand pain in terms of psychological as well as physical discomfort and helping any person who is suffering from chronic pain includes treating any underlying depression or psychiatric illness. Often times it is difficult to determine whether the pain or the depression arose first in a given patient.

For the person who is sufferer of psychosomatic pain it is especially important to try to achieve and maintain good mental health. This includes taking time to relax, exercising regularly which can improve mood, and also eating regular and sensible meals, and getting a good night's sleep. Such simple measures can do wonders for a person suffering from psychosomatic pain, but a long term treatment and cure will most often involve psychiatric treatment.


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