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Re: "psychosomatic" - clinicians' opinions/comments?

Posted by alan on January 9, 1999, at 4:22:51

In reply to Re: "psychosomatic" - clinicians' opinions/comments?, posted by pej on January 8, 1999, at 21:34:11

> > What exactly is meant in medicine when a symptom is said to be "psychosomatic?"
> >>Bodily symtoms caused by mental or emotional disturbence...or, involving both mind and body.

Nine times out of ten, "psychosomatic' is used to mean that the doctor does not know what is wrong; he thus infers that the mind ("the ghost in the machine") is perversely making trouble for the body (perhaps by giving the pineal gland a little wiggle). Or the symptom may be due to a stress response wherein cortisol and such does bad things; and maybe the stress response is due (in part) to irrational beliefs and other states of the brain to which can be ascribed "content", i.e.' say, meaning. Sometimes they mean the symptom is an action performed by the patient for a reason, usually a reason the patient is unaware of. Sometimes, all they mean is that if you relax, the symptom will go away. In other words, it means very little.




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