Psychosomatic issues

Mind over matter

Somatic or is it just semantics?

Mental health awareness, in the UK, is becoming more apparent, and less of a taboo through social media and mental health organisations, such as Mind. According to 1 in 6 people suffered with a mental health issue in the past week, moreover, depression, drug use and anxiety are lead causes in widespread disabilities. These claims are a clear indicator that mental health can have extremely detrimental effects on a persons life physically as well as psychologically. Psychosomatic conditions; are the connections between physical and mental health problems. Some ailments, that can be hard to decipher the root cause of, are often linked with a patients mental health. It is thought, that some debilitating conditions are exasperated by an unhealthy mind.

Life in balance

Depression is an example of how physical and mental health overlap. it affects 3.3 in 100 (Mind, 2019) people. It can often be diagnosed, after a series of initially, unexplained aches, pains, extreme exhaustion, skin conditions and issues with sleep and sex. The effects of the mind can cause an array of issues, as aforementioned. An individuals serotonin levels (chemical neurotransmitters in the body) are decreased when they are feeling low, therefore sadness and mental wellbeing are as much of a physical concern as they are a cognitive issue. Anti- depressants aim to tackle the chemical imbalances within the person, this form of treatment is primarily considering the patients physical anomalies. Other forms of medication are prescribed to treat severe Psychosis and other mental health issues, that are otherwise difficult for individuals to manage. This can involve sedation in extreme cases. Anorexia Nervosa is a prime example of a concurrency between mental and physical anguish. The sufferer will have extreme thoughts around eating, weight and body image which will encourage them to self mutilate by starving themselves. This will in turn create several adverse affects such as hair loss, loss of periods (if female) and weak immune system. This type of issue requires both psychological and physical intervention in order to create a stable well being forth individual.

A whole lot of sense

Psychological practice centres around an individuals thought processes. Different talking therapies are used as a way of discovering difficulties in the mind.Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is widely used, particularly within the NHS. Usually a short term intervention; it aims to reframe an individuals negative cognitions. It tends to work well for phobias and anxieties, both of which can affect someone physically, involuntary shaking, hyperventilating and dizziness are just some of the effects. Stress can also bring on a whole host of problems, people can experience migraines, skin complaints, stomach ulcers and many other issues that first develop due to intense difficulty in an individuals life. Gestalt therapy derives from Psychoanalysis, encompasses the notion that the key to emotional wellbeing, is to consider the person as a whole. It considers the body as well as the mind and incorporates that into its approach. It takes into account environmental factors and body language in order to treat someone effectively.

Physically draining

Conversely, extreme physical conditions, that can be detrimental to an individuals social interactions, and general way of life can have severe adverse effects on their mental state. If someone is unable to socialise and take part in activities to their satisfaction, this can leave them feeling isolated, empty and withdrawn. Leading to other depressive symptoms. According to a study (Hussain, Sikander, Maqsud) on individuals with physical disabilities and depression, there is a considerably high percentage of people, having experienced some level of depression, associated with their disability. This shows a concurrency between mind and body. Extreme physical trauma can trigger Post traumatic stress disorder; the term for an individuals mental state following trauma, this involves a series of anxiety issues that can hinder someones existence. Therefore, a patient experiencing this is to be treated both psychologically and physically in order to have a better sense of well being.

When two become one

An amalgamation of psychological therapies and medical interventions are increasing, and developing, to ensure patients are being treated holistically. Thus incorporating the body and mind concurrently. Holistic practice involves looking at ALL causes for any ailments, this would incorporate mood, sleep patterns, diet and environmental factors. They believe patients have the capability to identify and in some ways self medicate by self regulating and having some awareness of themselves as a whole. Mindfullness also encourages people to have an awareness of mind and body to encourage people to influence their mind with physicality’s and visa versa.

The need to affiliate both psychological and physical parts of a person is becoming more prevalent in todays world. Viewing a person as a whole can improve their well being on the generally and encourage an individuals own autonomy and ability to self regulate their lifestyle.

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