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    What diseases are we making up? /Psychosomatics:

    What diseases are we making up?


    "All diseases are from the nerves!" "You wind yourself up all the time, that's all it hurts!" How many times have you heard such phrases? And the main question: how seriously do you take such comments?



    What diseases are we making up?
    "diseases"


    Our expert: Irina Pichugina, MD, Ph.D., general practitioner, gastroenterologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, a specialist in psychosomatics

    According to the WHO, about 25% of the world's population suffers from mental disorders of varying severity. In today's world, there is too much stress around us - from dealing with negative remarks from superiors and clients to social media, where everything is teeming with sheer frustration. We constantly sit on computers and smartphones, rarely go outside not to get to the office or home, but just to walk or take a walk.


    According to the results of the multicenter study "KOMPAS" conducted in Russia, anxiety-depressive disorders are recorded in general in at least 1/3 of visits.


    Most consider psychosomatics not dangerous and do not even consider it as the main cause of their ailments or illnesses. Nonetheless, it merits understanding in more detail. According to B. Hodges, 60-70% of patients with anxiety and depression turn to doctors of various specialties with complaints of an exclusively somatic nature, that is, with complaints about changes in the function of internal organs.

    Our body has a defense against changing influences - the vegetative system. It maintains the consistency of the body's composition and functions But with an increase in stress load at some point, a failure may occur. It is at this moment that protection is sharply reduced, and damage occurs in one or another organ.


    Each of us has a so-called "weak point". It is determined by hereditary factors and is formed during life when the autonomic nervous system is damaged.


    Historically, doctors refer to the following conditions as psychosomatic diseases:


    Bronchial asthma

    The disease, accompanied by attacks of suffocation, shortness of breath. Often the onset of the disease, exacerbation, and the attack itself provokes a situation of stress, in which a person, as it were, “cannot exhale” his problem. In resting conditions, the disease may not manifest itself at all.


    Ulcerative colitis

    A disease, the cause of which is not completely clear. It is characterized by ulcerative damage to the intestines. Outwardly, it is accompanied by abdominal pain, changes in stool, an admixture of blood in it. The trigger is often stress.


    What diseases are we making up?
    "diseases"


    Essential hypertension

    Everyone is familiar with hypertension, an increase in blood pressure that is not associated with diseases of other organs and systems. Very often, this disease begins with autonomic dysfunction, in which the patient may have a tendency towards so-called "high normal" blood pressure. Over time, the defense mechanisms weaken. Any stress can cause an increase in blood pressure, and over time, this increase can become more persistent.


    Neurodermatitis

    A disease in which there are changes in the skin, accompanied by severe itching. There is also a connection between emotional stress, anxiety.

    Peptic ulcer and duodenal ulcer

    Peptic ulcers and duodenal ulcers are diseases most often associated with stress, accompanied by the formation of ulcers in the stomach and/or duodenum. There are cases of lightning-fast development of such diseases.

    Irritable bowel syndrome

    In irritable bowel syndrome, psychologically, anxiety and "unworked emotions" play a role. With this disease, patients note abdominal pain without clear localization, bloating, and stool disturbance. Moreover, under stress, the symptoms become especially pronounced.

    Esophagospasm

    With esophagospasm, the patient notes pain behind the sternum and a violation of the passage of food. Often, patients note that they cannot "swallow the grievance" as it were. With stress, there is also an increase in symptoms.

    Biliary dyskinesia

    May be accompanied by pain in both the left and right hypochondrium of varying degrees of intensity associated with food intake. Such patients are usually in conditions of prolonged chronic overvoltage.

    Autoimmune diseases

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which, for unknown reasons, the body begins to produce antibodies to the synovial membranes of the joints. Psychologically, it is more common for people who are dissatisfied with themselves, who direct "negative energy" to themselves. A similar mechanism can be considered for any autoimmune process.


    Psychosomatics plays a huge role in the development of obesity, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart diseases, and many others.


    Many patients report a direct connection with stress in their illness.


    And often you can notice an improvement in the condition after solving the problem, on vacation, especially during a change of scenery. One of my patients told me that his illness begins and ends at passport control at the airport.


    Is the vegetative system malfunctioning?

    There are some signs that your autonomic nervous system is not working properly - sleep disturbances, decreased mood and memory, frequent mood swings, cold weather, and damp hands and feet.


    What diseases are we making up?
    "diseases"


    The situation is complicated by the fact that many psychosomatic diseases are functional. That is, they do not have structural damage to organs, and are manifested exclusively by impaired body function. Although more and more recently they talk about possible simultaneous functional and organic diseases of one organ. In scientific centers, there are a large number of diagnostic techniques aimed at registering impaired organ function. However, in routine medical practice, impaired organ function is often difficult to measure with objective diagnostic techniques. At such moments, unfortunately, the patient is often written off as a "lung" or even a fake. But this is not the case. Such a patient may require more attention than a patient with an organic lesion.


    What if you suspect psychosomatics?

    Treatment of psychosomatic illness must be comprehensive. Moreover, the patient himself has a leading role in this matter.

    1. It is necessary to normalize the daily routine.  

    This does not mean that you should live by an alarm clock, but your day should have a certain framework. It is very important to get up and go to bed at the same time, set aside certain hours for eating.

    2. At work, be sure to take short breaks 

    So that you have the opportunity to rest and recover.

    3. Daily physical activity 

    is one of the best means for emotional release. Walking in the fresh air, exercising, swimming, cycling - choose the type of activity that suits you.

    4. Do not forget about what brings you pleasure

    Favorite activities are often postponed until later, and we devote time only to our duties. Take a few minutes every day to do something nice for yourself.

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