Psychosomatic illness (translated from the Greek “psyche – soul “soma” – body) – violation of the functions of organs and systems in the origin and course of which the leading role belongs to impact of stressful factors, the experience of acute or chronic psychological trauma, specific features of emotional response of the individual. In the 30-years of the twentieth century one of the founders of psychosomatic medicine by Franz Alexander was a dedicated group of “classical psychosomatic diseases”, or the “Chicago seven”: essential hypertension, peptic ulcer 12 duodenal ulcer, ulcerative colitis, bronchial asthma, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis.
These disorders are diseases of adaptation (civilization). They often are also called stress-dependent, which underlines the important role of psychosocial influences in their origin. All acquire a greater prevalence of psychosomatic disorders in children and adolescents. In studies conducted in the pediatric hospital, 80.9% children were found neuropsychiatric disorders, 40% were psychogenic cause of disease, or weigh down their course. All applicants to the pediatrician children 40% – 68% suffer from psychosomatic diseases.
Causes of psychosomatic illnesses in children
- Disruption of the usual pattern, i.e., a change of scenery or circle of friends. 100% of children placed in the nursery, react to this negatively. React negatively to kindergarten – 50% of children. And attending school not less – 25%, i.e. a quarter of children experiencing negative emotions.
- Improper construction of the routine of the child. For children it is very important to sleep and wakefulness in the restoration of homeostasis. If you meet parents that claim their child, just as they are “owl” falls asleep late and rises late, then it is not so well describes not only the child but also their parents.
- Wrong educational methods. Forms of education that lead to the formation patoharakterologicheskie personality: rejects, gepersonaliseerde, egocentric education (like the idol of the family), as well as education with giperprodukciei (Hyper). Improper training leads to frequent occurrence of negative emotional expressions.
- Lack of necessary conditions for independent games and activities is the fourth factor that affects the emotional life of the child. In the games children manifest themselves, which contributes to the maturation of their psyche. If authoritarian mother does not provide the child opportunities for independent decision-making that pays too much attention to his intellectual development, imposes inappropriate activity abilities of the child and its possibilities, in such cases, the child has a high risk of psychosomatic disorders.
- Creating a one-way emotional attachment, i.e., affective dependence on anyone or a lack of emotional understanding on the part of family members.
- Lack of a unified educational approach to the child. Pupils have a major role in the occurrence of negative emotions plays an inability to cope with the training load, the hostile attitude of the teachers and the children’s rejection team.
- American researchers are considered the most pathogenic in preschool and middle school ages death, divorce, separation of parents, i.e. factors relating to family relationships.
Symptoms and signs of psychosomatic illness:
- Nonspecific heredity burdened somatic disorders;
- Hereditary predisposition to psychosomatic disorders;
- Changes in the Central Nervous System, leading to neural changes;
- Personal characteristics;
- Mental and physical condition during stressful events;
- Adverse family and other social factors;
- Features of stressful events.
These factors not only participate in the Genesis of psychosomatic disorders, but each separately or in different combinations that make a child vulnerable to emotional stress, difficult psychological and biological protection, facilitate the appearance and weight for somatic disorders.
Development of psychosomatic disease in a child
According to modern concepts, the somatization is seen as immature or primitive psychic protection. “Protection”, in this case, the set of actions of the body, aimed at reducing or eliminating any change that threatens the integrity and sustainability of the human condition. In other words, protection is necessary to return the psyche to a state of equilibrium. It is required in order to master the intense feelings: fear, anxiety, grief, sadness, etc., or to avoid them, and also to preserve self-esteem. Primitive protective reaction of the psyche in the form of bodily ailment is aimed at strengthening the boundaries between “I” as a part of the psyche, and the outside world. Somatic reaction develops at a very weak ability of the individual to the processing of psychic experience. Because bodily manifestations are more archaic and primal than thoughts, verbal and affective reactions.
Neural changes contribute to the accumulation of affective arousal and increased autonomic activity, and thus the change in the dynamics of blood flow, hormonal emissions, etc. These shifts, along with the primary involvement of Central mechanisms, the consequence of increased or painful changing of signals from the internal organs and systems. With the regulation of emotions and controlling the functions of the internal organs most closely related to the limbic system and hypothalamus, so the disorder of their activities, are the most important factors in violation of neurodynamic processes in the Central Nervous System and the origin of psychosomatic disorders.
Children have a high risk of psychosomatic disorders associated with such qualities of character as a low sensitivity threshold to stimuli, high intensity of reactions to external stimuli, difficulties in adapting to changes with a predominance of negative emotions. Identified the personal characteristics that are most often in different combinations to meet almost all psychosomatic disorders. These include isolation, restraint, distrust, anxiety, tendency to easy occurrence of frustrations, the predominance of negative emotions over positive, low level of intellectual functioning combined with severe hypersociality to achieve high results. Depth of awareness of stressful events and personality features on which it depends, define an event will be stressful for a particular individual or not.
Adverse family factors influence the likelihood of disease. The child has a close psychological connection with parents, so almost all of the important negative changes in their life put it on the brink of the risks of disease.
Child is “symptom of a dysfunctional family”, and painful symptoms it may be the only expression of family disruption.
Much more difficult to understand the origins of psychosomatic disorders in children of early age and to identify camouflaged, somatized mental disorders. Particularly sensitive to violations of the relationship with the mother infants. Disorders in harmonious contact with the mother due to her psychological problems children may respond even to stop development. Qualitative disorders of the behavior of the mother can lead to such symptoms: refusal of feeding, vomiting in newborns, three-month colic in children, infant eczema, constant and intense rocking on all fours etc.
Manifestations of psychosomatic disease in a child
Among the psychosomatic diseases excrete psychosomatic reactions, psychosomatic functional disorders and psychosomatic diseases.
To psychosomatic reactions in children include reactions that occur when exposed to stress, which was manifested by headaches, sleep disorders, enuresis, vomiting, dizziness, tachycardia, lack of appetite.
This group of disorders are mental fatigue. The clinical picture of asthenia manifested by increased fatigue, daytime sleepiness, weakness, emotional lability, irritability, impulsiveness and hypersensitivity, weakening of attention and memory, headache, tinnitus, autonomic manifestations.
Psychosomatic reactions are usually short-lived. They arise directly after the children experience unpleasant or dangerous circumstances: the attack dogs, the examination of the situation, etc.
Functional psychosomatic disorders in children are connected, apparently, with the more meaningful for the child or teenager of a single adverse circumstance or recurring difficulties in life. They are not accompanied by damage of structures of organs and systems. Their manifestations are diverse – disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (anorexia, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation), cardiovascular system (cardialgia, cardiac dysrhythmia, arterial dystonia), respiratory (dyspnea, sleep apnea, “neurotic” cough), etc.
Specific psychosomatics (psychosomatic disease) – ulcers disease stomach and duodenal ulcers, coronary heart disease, hypertension, bronchial asthma, atopic dermatitis, etc., are characterized by structural disorders of the corresponding organs and systems.
For a full clinical examination of the child with the aim of identifying the degree of risk of occurrence of psychosomatic disorders using psychological methods, capable of detecting pathological anxiety of the subject. This personality questionnaires Eysenck, Cattell; the scale of reactive and personal anxiety spielberger test and Luscher color choices; method of unfinished sentences; questionnaires of children’s anxiety Reynolds, Klinedinst; family pattern etc.
Treatment of psychosomatic diseases in children
Implementation of prevention and treatment of children with psychosomatic disorders requires the creation of the necessary conditions. Organization of care should be based on the notions that the disorders described are essentially diseases of adaptation. In this regard, in the first place should be put the principle of early identification of children at high risk.
Maintenance of psychosomatic patients should be managed by a pediatrician in conjunction with a therapist and a psychiatrist. The treatment should be directed not only to the somatic and psychopathological symptoms, but also correct the effect of socio-psychological factors and psychosomatic reactions that have occurred to the child in response to the disease.
To create a family of favorable conditions for education of children parents should be offered psychological support. Through interviews, consultations form the parents have the ability to create a trusting, encouraging and emotionally warm relationships with children, necessary for the prevention of psychosomatic disorders.
Today, psychological examination and psychotherapy of the child becomes reality. In this regard, the close collaboration between pediatricians, psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists should provide not only the diagnosis and treatment of somatic diseases, but also an effective study of personality and psychological difficulties of the child, on which depends the success of therapeutic intervention.