Psychosomatic - The interaction of soul and body

The family doctor finds in more than 20 percent of all patients no organic cause for their complaints - often the actual cause of illness can be found on closer examination of individual psychological and social factors.

What is meant by psychosomatics?

Psychosomatics is the study of the diseases that express themselves physically and thereby are caused partly or completely psychologically.

The psychosomatic understanding assumes that body and soul influence each other, and sees man as a biopsychosocial unit whose individual components can only work together. This holistic basic idea is present in medicine in many areas - so also pursues him every family doctor, if he not only asks his patient about his current complaints, but also wants to know more about the family or the work of his patient and he asks him if it otherwise he is doing well. However, the importance of the psychosomatic idea has not always been the same in the last few centuries.

Historical origin of psychosomatics

The physician in antiquity and the Middle Ages always treated body and soul at the same time to provide as much as possible to his sick patient. His view of illness was influenced by the temperament theory, which assumed that body fluids and mental state are closely linked.

Only the scientific research in medicine from the 16th century changed this perspective. Disease was defined as a chemical-physical change in the body's cells that could be treated with drugs. However, this scientific medicine is still in a certain explanation in diseases in which no changes in organ functions are detectable.

From the end of the 19th century psychosomatics developed as a medical countercurrent. She wanted to shed light on the individually different disease influences and processes and thus improve the treatment of the scientifically insufficiently treatable symptoms. Important forerunners of today's psychosomatic findings were Sigmund Freud and Franz Alexander, and later explanatory models by Hans Selye and Thore von Uexküll were added.

How does Psychosomatics make itself felt in everyday life?

Each of us can experience the connection between the psyche and the body on a daily basis - be it that "something is heavy in the stomach", "the fright moves into the limbs", "you almost scald yourself with fear" or that one blushes with shame and accelerates the heartbeat in an unpleasant situation. These experiences show that emotions can affect and affect both autonomic bodily functions such as the heartbeat, blood pressure or bladder and bowel movements as well as the musculoskeletal system.

The interplay between psyche, behavior, the nervous and immune systems has been studied for almost 30 years by a special psychosomatic research field, Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). She has already found a variety of links between the various areas, without being able to tell exactly in detail exactly how the interaction is triggered. However, some transmission routes are already well researched, as chronic stress, for example, has a negative effect on the various cells of the immune system.

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