As an Author, Life Coach, Trauma Release Practitioner, and Personal Development Teacher, Evette Rose strives to support people in their healing journeys. She is the founder of the Metaphysical Anatomy Healing Technique. She is best known for her work in helping people to resolve trauma from their past and freeing them to live successful and fulfilling lives. Evette’s work is drawn from personal experience moving from a difficult past into a well-balanced life and career. She has traveled around the world twice and taught personal development seminars in more than 43 countries, and helped thousands of people worldwide. She is highly gifted and well-equipped to help and support her students and clients throughout their healing journeys in ways that bring permanent and satisfying results.
In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, stress has become a common companion for many individuals. While it is natural to experience stress in certain situations, prolonged or chronic stress can take a toll on both our mental and physical well-being. One fascinating aspect of stress is its ability to manifest as psychosomatic medical problems, where psychological distress can cause or exacerbate physical symptoms without an underlying organic cause. This article explores the intricate relationship between stress and psychosomatic medical problems, shedding light on how our emotions and thoughts can influence our physical health.
What is fundamentally important here is that psychosomatic problems have been recognized by doctors for decades! Psychosomatic disorders, also known as somatoform disorders, are characterized by physical symptoms that cannot be adequately explained by any underlying medical condition. These symptoms often arise as a result of emotional or psychological distress. While the exact mechanisms behind psychosomatic medical problems are not fully understood, it is widely believed that stress plays a significant role.
What does psychosomatic mean? Psychosomatic is a term that refers to the interaction and interplay between the mind (psyche) and the body (soma). It describes a condition or a phenomenon where psychological factors, such as emotions, thoughts, and mental states, can influence and manifest as physical symptoms or medical conditions without a discernible organic cause.
In psychosomatic disorders, the physical symptoms experienced by an individual are believed to be closely linked to their psychological or emotional state. These symptoms can include pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, breathing difficulties, and various other physical manifestations. It’s important to note that psychosomatic symptoms are not intentionally or consciously produced by the individual; rather, they arise as a result of complex interactions between psychological and physiological processes.
The term “psychosomatic” does not imply that the symptoms are imaginary or that the individual is “making them up.” On the contrary, psychosomatic symptoms are very real and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. While the symptoms may not have a clear organic basis, they are believed to be influenced by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and other emotional or mental health issues.
We are more than just a body and brain, they are connected in more ways than just sending signals for us to eat, breath and survive. We have what is called the ‘The Mind-Body Connection’. The mind-body connection refers to the intricate relationship between our mental and physical well-being. Research has demonstrated that psychological stress can trigger physiological responses in the body, leading to a range of symptoms. When we experience stress, our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare us for a fight-or-flight response. However, chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance of our body systems and contribute to the development of psychosomatic medical problems.
One of the biggest culprits behind our poor health is stress and a challenged immune system. One crucial aspect of the mind-body connection is the impact of stress on the immune system. Prolonged stress weakens immune function, making individuals more susceptible to infections and other health issues. Additionally, stress-related immune system dysregulation has been linked to the development or exacerbation of conditions such as asthma, allergies, and autoimmune disorders. These conditions involve physical symptoms that are influenced or triggered by psychological stressors.
A common area for stress to show up in our body can be a headache and intestinal problems. Have you heard the saying: “I feel sick to my stomach from stress?” Well, seems that there a lot more to it than it just being a common expression. Stress can contribute to psychosomatic medical problems is in gastrointestinal disorders. Stress can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, leading to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastritis, and peptic ulcers. The gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication system between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, plays a crucial role in this relationship. Emotional stressors can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms, and in turn, gastrointestinal symptoms can intensify emotional distress, creating a vicious cycle.
This cycle can lead into psychosomatic symptoms and mental health. Psychosomatic symptoms are often seen in individuals with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and somatic symptom disorder. In these cases, emotional or psychological distress can manifest as physical symptoms. For example, someone with anxiety may experience chest pain and shortness of breath, even though there is no underlying heart condition. Understanding and addressing the mental health aspect is crucial in effectively managing psychosomatic medical problems.
So how do we manage something that we are still learning to understand?
By starting to recognize the impact of stress on psychosomatic medical problems is the first step towards effective management. It is essential to develop healthy coping mechanisms to mitigate stress levels. Techniques such as mindfulness, relaxation exercises, regular physical activity, and seeking support from loved ones or mental health professionals can significantly alleviate stress and reduce psychosomatic symptoms. Additionally, addressing underlying mental health concerns through therapy or medication, if necessary, can be beneficial.
The mind-body connection is a fascinating aspect of human physiology and psychology. Stress, when left unmanaged, can contribute to the development or exacerbation of psychosomatic medical problems. Recognizing the influence of emotional and psychological well-being on physical health is crucial for holistic healthcare. By understanding this intricate relationship, we can focus on stress management strategies, mental health support, and overall well-being, leading to a healthier and more balanced life.