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Psychosomatic disorders

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Psychosomatic illness
ICD-10 F45
ICD-9 306.9
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A psychosomatic disorder or psychosomatic illness is a condition whose symptoms are at least in part caused by mental processes of the sufferer rather than immediate physiological causes. If a medical examination can find no physical or organic cause, if an illness appears to result from emotional or cognitive process such as anger, anxiety, depression and guilt then it might be classified psychosomatic. Psychosomatic medicine is the branch of medicine specializing in these conditions.

DSM-III dropped the use of the term reflecting a growing view that the cause or course of most conditions may be affected by changes to bodily systems that may reflect psychological factors. So for example evidence the field of psychoneuroendocrinology shows how hormonal changes can be affected by psychological circumstances and in psychoneuroimmunology how these changes may mediate resistence to infections etc.

List of psychosomatic disorders

At various times a broad range of conditions have been regarded as being psychosomatic disorders. By systems involved, these include:

Cardiovascular disorders

Digestive disorders

Endocrine disorders

Genitourinary disorders

Muscoskeletal disorders

Nervous system disorders

Respiratory disorders

Skin disorders


These conditions have been investigated in terms of:

  • Their relationship to personality variables
  • Their response to psychological stress of varying kinds
  • Their relationship to lifestyle factors
  • The impact of psychological factors upon the physical processes known to be associated with the conditions (eg allergies).

See also

External links

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