Intrapsychic Omnipresence in Bodily Symptoms
Sometimes disease and illness just show up. For these medical conditions, a doctor usually tells us what is "wrong" physically. These scientific observations determining diseases or symptoms leave people wondering if there is something behind the cell that created the malfunction. Perhaps one's psyche; which is the mind functioning as the center of thought, conscious or unconscious, and interconnected with the physical environment, can effect the body positively and negatively. An indirect way of dealing with psychological conflict is to intuitively or unconsciously convert it into symptomatic illness. However, this does not get rid of the emotions or the symptoms, for this is not the root of the problem. It is only through recognition of the their intuition or repressed emotions that people may come to heal themselves. It is difficult although possible for some to assign every illness or symptom to some underlying psychic cause; but that is usually whimsically referred to as "new age" and "mystical". It is a person's own personal belief whether she created her diabetes, or whether he created his cancer as a result of psychological and emotional conflict and trauma. Therefore, we can only look at the facts to postulate the argument that a lack of psychological well being manifests itself somatically. The best way to examine the notion that psychological factors affect medical conditions is with the neurosis Hysteria.
Hysteria is also known now as Conversion Disorder or Dissociation, in which unconscious or emotional psychological conflict converts into a bodily disturbance (2). An example of this is anxiety. Hysteria is diagnosed as psychological stress accompanied with physical symptoms. Interestingly, despite the multiple physical symptoms there is no anatomical or organic basis for any of them. Although conversion disorder is a physical manifestation, there is no physical cause. In the case of hysteria, the mind or the psyche is neglected by the person who represses emotional trauma, and these then divert themselves into the body as a means of expression or escape. These patients often times do not know what is wrong with themselves because the repression was unconscious and out of their control. Accordingly, the physical symptoms in hysteria are a result of the person's lack of psychological control, which is unconscious not voluntary.
During the 19th century, French Neurologist J.M. Charcot and Psychologist P. Janet emphasized that "morbid ideas could produce physical manifestations" and that hysteria was caused by the psyche not the body (1).