Essay Example on Psychosomatic disorders are physical symptoms concerns or Illnesses

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Psychosomatic disorders are physical symptoms concerns or illnesses of the body that originate from emotional and thinking processes There is a mental aspect to every physical disease How we react to disease and how we cope with disease vary greatly from person to person For example the rash of psoriasis may not bother some people very much However the rash covering the same parts of the body in someone else may make them feel depressed and more ill It is important to remember that psychosomatic illnesses have real symptoms and are diseases with real physical manifestations Emotions can critically influence health and disease An example is how particular emotions can either increase common symptoms of a disease or the likelihood of being afflicted by a disease Many diseases are strongly connected to certain emotions For example people who display high levels of aggression hostility or anger seem to be more likely to develop cardiovascular problems The brain can also affect certain cells of the immune system that may cause one to experience illness and disease Some physical diseases are thought to be particularly prone to be made worse by mental factors such as stress and anxiety For example these include psoriasis eczema stomach ulcers high blood pressure and heart disease Emotions may also cause different physical symptoms 



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An emotion that is widely known for manifesting negative physical symptoms is anxiety When one is anxious there is an increased activity of nervous impulses sent from the brain to various parts of the body These impulses result in the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream The adrenaline then introduces symptoms such as a fast heart rate shaking tremor sweating a dry mouth chest pain headaches a knot in the stomach and fast breathing Stress is another emotion that exhibits unpleasant physical symptoms One may experience low energy headaches an upset stomach nausea aches pains and tense muscles chest pain and rapid heartbeat insomnia and frequent colds and infections during periods of intense or prolonged emotional stress To test the idea of psychosomatic disorders a study was done in 1991 by Sheldon Cohen David A J Tyrell and Andrew P Smith called Psychological Stress and Susceptibility to the Common Cold This study tested if stress had any impact on the common cold Participants were quarantined in a laboratory setting for a particular period of time During this time participants underwent medical exams completed questionnaires assessing their physical and mental health as well as health behaviors and responded to psychosocial measures that described various aspects of their personality and the amount of stress they were currently experiencing Some information gathered from the participants included the number of major stressful life events judged by the subject as having had a negative impact on his or her psychological state during the preceding year and the extent to which current demands exceeded the subject s ability to cope The test subjects were then given nasal drops containing one of five different respiratory viruses Cold symptoms were assessed both by self report and by clinicians who examined participants daily for watery eyes sneezing sinus pain and other symptoms The results showed that the greater the individual s stress level the higher the likelihood of being infected by the cold virus and of developing cold symptoms 



Of the 394 virus exposed volunteers 325 became infected and 148 developed colds Ruling out a number of factors which might have otherwise confused interpretation of the results for example age sex education allergic status weight the season the number of subjects housed together and so on did not change the results Although many emotions aggravate physical symptoms other emotions may display favorable physical symptoms and lessen negative symptoms Some examples of these emotions are happiness high self esteem a strong sense of self efficacy resilience hope and optimism Studies have shown that these positive qualities can hasten recovery from serious injury or illness while people who do not have these qualities are at greater risk for developing illnesses such as heart disease and cancer Emotions that come from having social support and positive interpersonal relationships also positively influence the body This whole process is known as an upward spiral where positive emotions bring us better health and good health generates more positive emotions Psychosomatic disorders can work in two ways Not only can the mind influence the body but the body can influence the mind as well A fitting example of how the body affects the mind is exercise Exercising has many outcomes that benefit one s mind attitude and emotions One advantage of exercising is that it releases endorphins Endorphins are chemicals that reduce stress Other advantages of exercising include improvement of concentration and motivation and tension relief Some additional methods that are used to exhibit positive emotions are participating in calming activities such as focused deep breathing yoga meditation and other behavioral techniques that alter physiology

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