What Does Psychosomatic Mean?


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Arlene Fernandes Profile
Psychosomatic is an adjective that means of or pertaining to a disorder which has physical symptoms although it originated from causes that are mental or emotional in nature. It could mean concerned with or pertaining to the influence that the mind has on the body, as well as that which the body has on the mind, in particular with respect to disease. The term may be used of illness or symptoms which result from neurosis

A number of afflictions are believed to be psychosomatic in nature and are known as psychosomatic disorders or psycho physiologic illness. In cases where medical examinations show no specific physical or organic causes of a disorder, if an illness seems to be caused by emotional conditions such as anxiety, anger, guilt or depression then such illnesses may be categorized as psychosomatic.

The adverb form of the term psychosomatic is the word psychosomatically.
E Jacobson Profile
E Jacobson answered
Traditionally it was felt that a psychosomatic illness was one which was purely 'in the mind' and did not actually exist. However, recently, doctors have begun to understand that a psychsomatic illness is one where the body is affected by the mind, so the mind may cause the disease, but the physical symptoms are real.
So for example, a person may experience an asthma attack after a very stressful experience. But the asthma attack is real.
The term is derived from the Greek words psyche which means soul and soma which means body. So in this way the soul influences the body.
A psychsomatic illness is different from an illness which is purely in the mind. For example, a person may be convinced that they have cancer even when they do not. This is a mental illness, not a psychosomatic illness. For it to be psychosomatic there has to be a combination of stress/mental distress and physical symptoms.

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