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when the head makes you sick

Psychosomatic illnesses have a psychiatric origin, but their manifestation can be physical. Learn all about this somatization disorder.

At psychosomatic illnesses originate from a psychiatric disorder that translates into physical discomfort, which can affect various organs of the body and manifest itself through pain, diarrheatremors or shortness of breath.

Although very real, these symptoms are not caused by any organic disorder. However, this does not mean that those with psychosomatic illnesses do not suffer and do not need medical follow-up, which sometimes makes it difficult to arrive at an adequate diagnosis. Get to understand better.

Psychosomatic diseases: features and treatment

Generally, psychosomatic illnesses or somatization disorder affect individuals anxious and depressants. Thus, those who suffer from these disorders usually need to do psychotherapyas well as taking antidepressants and anxiolytics.

Most frequent psychosomatic illnesses

As we have already said, psychological disorders can affect various organs of the body. However, there are physical manifestations more frequent than others. See the list.

  • Stomach: pain and/or burning, nausea, gastritis and ulcers.
  • Intestine: diarrhea or constipation.
  • Throat: pain and irritation.
  • Lungs: feeling short of breath.
  • Muscles and joints: tensions, contractures and pain.
  • Heart: chest pains, palpitations, High tension.
  • Kidneys: pain and/or difficulty urinating.
  • Skin: itching, burning or tingling.
  • Sexuality: impotence or decreased sexual desire, difficulty getting pregnant and changes in the menstrual cycle.
  • Nervous system: headaches, migraineschanges in vision, balance, sensitivity and motor skills.

Many times, these symptoms can even aggravate pre-existing diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome, for example.

Risk factors

There are people who may be more subject to developing psychosomatic illnesses. Some of the risk factors for these disorders are:

  • heredity;
  • personality disorders;
  • genetic and physiological complications;
  • environmental influence;
  • less control of emotions or psychological problems;
  • excessive activity;
  • social isolation;
  • development of “pain behaviors”.


We have already indicated that psychosomatic illnesses usually originate from problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. However, there are also other situations that can enhance this type of disturbance, such as:

  • burnout – associated with excessive or exhausting work, such as that of teachers or health professionals;
  • traumas – significant episodes, such as abuse, accidents or conflicts may be the basis of these disorders;
  • psychological violence – who lives contexts of bullying or violence can contribute to the development of this type of disorder;
  • anxiety, sadness and depression – depressive states can develop psychosomatic illnesses;

possible consequences

Psychosomatic illnesses, if not properly diagnosed or treated, can lead to other problems, namely:

  • alcoholism and drug addiction;
  • marital or family conflicts;
  • professional instability;
  • kidney complications;
  • difficulties in relationships;
  • development of mental disorders;
  • higher risk of suicide.
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As we have already mentioned, it is not always easy or fast to arrive at a diagnosis of this type of disease. Usually, a physical and laboratory examination is performed first, which, not revealing any other illness, leads to the diagnosis of psychosomatic illness. In that case, consultation with a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, is prudent.

Symptoms such as feelings of rapid heartbeat, tremors, dry mouth or shortness of breath (which are not reflected in medical tests) are examples of warning signs for psychosomatic illnesses. Its most frequent consequences are gastrointestinal, neurological or sexual disorders.


In addition to treating the psychological part, it is essential to control the physical symptoms and, therefore, it is often necessary to resort to drugs, such as analgesics, anti-inflammatories and antihistamines. At the same time, consultations with a psychologist and/or psychiatrist are essential.

Antidepressants, anxiolytics and psychotherapy are also part of the treatment, as they help to reduce the anxiety that is often at the origin of psychosomatic illnesses.

There are also natural resources that can help fight stress, such as practicing physical exercise; do yoga or pilates; to experiment breathing exercises; rest; meditate; sleep well; eat properly; and drink chamomile tea.

close up of doctor and patient hands in a consultation


To prevent psychosomatic illnesses, you should avoid their main causative agents, namely anxiety, stress and depression.

Having a healthy lifestyle is essential. Therefore, you must ensure that you have a balanced diet; practices physical activity regularly; have moments of leisure and relaxation; and, if necessary, resorts to psychotherapy.

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