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Re: Psyche=mind; Soma=sleep. {more}

Posted by Elizabeth on January 18, 1999, at 7:10:45

In reply to Psyche=mind; Soma=sleep. {more}, posted by racer on January 13, 1999, at 1:32:54

> Basically, it means that it's coming from your mind without your being consciously aware of it. It can be meaningful, but it can also mean that the doctor is writing off a symptom. (For instance, I was once hospitalized for a "psychosomatic" bladder infection: by that time the very real infection had moved to my kidneys and almost killed me! The doctor had missed the infection in tests, but it was there.)
> Hope that helps.

"Soma" is actually Greek for "body." ("Hypnos" is sleep.)

The use of the word "psychosomatic" in the way you describe (where the doctors use the patient's anxiety as a rationalization for blaming the patient for his illness when in reality the doctors just haven't done adequate testing) is the kind of thing that annoys me (to put it mildly). Even though psychoanalytic therapy is out of fashion, there's still an assumption in a lot of people's minds (even doctors) that "repressed emotions" and "unconscious conflict" and such (unproven, and impossible to prove) can make people ill (and that such illness doesn't require real treatment).

I remember once when I was in a partial hospital program for mood disorders, I was having trouble holding down food. Rather than try to help me, though, the doctors said that it was caused by anxiety. (Despite the behavioral orientation of that program, they didn't try to help me fix the problem through psychological means, even.) And this was at what is supposedly one of the best psych hospitals in the country...if that's the best, I'd hate to see the worst! (A friend of mine is now in a substance abuse program there and is having just as hard a time. *sigh*)




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