Psychological Factors in Physical Disorders

Essay by arion03University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.7

Psychosocial factors- factors that are either psychological or sociocultural- may contribute to somatic, or bodily, illnesses in a variety of ways

Rene Descartes went so far as to claim that the mind, or soul, is separate from the body- a position called mind-body dualism

Not until the 20th century were medical scientists persuaded that psychosocial factors such as stress, worry, and unconscious needs can contribute in major ways to physical illness

Factitious disorder and somatoform disorder are believed to be due to psychosocial factors

Psychophysiological disorders are believed to result from an interaction of biological, psychological, and socialcultural factors

Factitious Disorder

malingering- intentionally faking illness to achieve an external goal

patient may intentionally produce or fake physical symptoms simply from a wish to be a patient; that is, the motivation for assuming the sick role may be the role itself

often go to extremes to create the appearance of illness; give themselves medication secretly

often research their supposed ailments and may become very knowledgeable about medicine

munchausen syndrome- the extreme of and long-tem from of factitious disorder

munchausen syndrome by proxy- parents make up or produce physical illness in their children, leading in some case to repeated painful diagnostic tests, medication, and surgery

more common in women then men; severe cases are more frequent in men; usually begins during early adulthood

most common among people who: 1) as children received extensive medical treatment for a true physical disorder 2) experienced family problems or physical or emotional abuse in childhood 3) carry a grudge against the medical profession 4) have worked as a nurse, laboratory, technician, or medical aide 5) have an underlying personality problem such as extreme dependence

often have poor social support, few long-term social relationships, and little family life

Somatoform Disorders

another pattern of physical complaints with largely...