Psychosomatic Disorders: How America’s health care system perpetuates the problem


Psychosomatic  medicine specifically refers to physical disorders of the mind-body.  The disorders may appear to be purely physical, but they have the origin in unconscious emotions.  This can range all the way from back pain to cancer.  Despite the prevalence of these disorders, the practice of psychosomatic medicine is pretty much unknown within today’s medical community.  When physicians and psychiatrists are confronted with a psychosomatic disorder, they do not recognize it and JUST treat the symptom instead.  What this has actually done is perpetuated episodes of pain and other common disorders affecting the lives of millions of Americans.

Psychosomatic processes begin in the unconscious the generally misunderstood part of our minds first identified by Freud.  Essentially, it is the interaction of the conscious and unconscious minds that these psychosomatic orders originate.  The traits that we consider the most troublesome are the products of the primitive part of the brain located just above the brain stem.  The neocortex, the brain of reason, intelligence, communication and morality, appears to be an ongoing struggle between these two parts of the brain.  While sometimes reason prevails, other times the more primitive part of the brain becomes dominant.    This is where psychosomatic disorders come about.

American medicine has done enormous harm.  By misdiagnosing psychosomatic disorders, a patient might initially experience pain relief due to a placebo reaction, but the pain will return in the same or alternate location.  The patient is far from healed.  This causes pain syndromes to spread like an epidemic.  Ineffective treatments, some of which are extremely expensive, have also had a negative impact on government and private insurance.   There have been examples of how expensive treatment, with no evidence or value whatsoever, has been utilized because doctors, hospitals, and manufacturers of hardware have a financial stake in the performance of a particular operation.

The purpose of this post is to allow readers to reflect and see if they may know someone who has a chronic condition that seems to be in the constant search of finding a solution to their disorder, whether it be migraines, chronic pain, fibromyalgia etc.   By passing this information along, it could drastically affect the approach of one of your friends or loved ones.  Being aware, asking questions and being educated in this area could prove to be how things can change positively in the future, as it more than likely will not change in the medical community for variety of reasons, including marketplace and economic factors.  So if you know a friend or a loved one who you may think has a psychosomatic disorders from negative memories and unresolved emotions that came with them, gently suggest to them that psychotherapy could be a more effective measure in getting at the root of the problem.

Speak Your Mind


Ryan Long, MSW, LICSW


verified by Psychology Today

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