Chronic Somatic Diseases

You can spend years visiting doctors and taking handfuls of pills, but still not get cured of gastritis, rhinitis, pancreatitis, and other diseases. They become chronic, and medications become lifelong companions. However, it might be a case of somatic chronic diseases. If so, it is possible to be cured, but one must reach a psychologist.

Types of Somatic Diseases

Somatic diseases are illnesses that develop against a background of stress and other negative factors. While previously only seven diseases were considered in this category, now there is no doubt among medics and psychologists: every disease and symptom has a psychological basis, to which psychosomatics contributes. We have identified what somatic diseases are. Now let’s understand their types.

Acute Somatic Diseases

They are characterized by manifestations in youth and early adulthood. Women are more prone to chronic ailments. There is a genetic and hereditary factor. The risk of pathology is higher with chemical dependencies.

Examples of chronic somatic ailments:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases;
  • Respiratory system diseases;
  • Liver and kidney diseases;
  • Blood diseases;
  • Musculoskeletal diseases;
  • Skin diseases;
  • Cardiovascular pathologies.

The list of diseases varies from mild illnesses like the common cold to severe somatic diseases like stomach ulcers.

Chronic Somatic Diseases

These are acute somatic pathologies that have become chronic. They have the same characteristics but are distinguished by a recurrent nature and persistence of some symptoms.

Distinguishing Infectious

Diseases from Somatic Somatic disorder has four characteristic features:

  1. No pathogenic agent. There is no virus, bacteria, or other microorganism that causes infection.
  2. Symptoms affect multiple systems, and the patient’s complaints do not form a coherent picture.
  3. The patient’s immediate environment has not been infected with the same.
  4. No incubation period.

Interesting! There are cases where a person experiences real physical symptoms, but doctors do not find any pathologies or disturbances. Such diseases are also considered somatic.

Causes of Somatic Diseases

Common causes include:

  • Anxiety;
  • Conflicts;
  • Difficult life situations;
  • Prolonged stress;
  • Outbursts of anger;
  • Constantly growing dissatisfaction;
  • Nervousness;
  • Fears.

The longer negative emotions accumulate inside a person, the higher the chance of developing a somatic disease.

Factors Worsening the Functioning of Internal Organs

Negative psychological factors that worsen physical well-being include:

  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Fears;
  • Emotional overloads;
  • Quarrels;
  • Aggression;
  • Hyperresponsibility;
  • Dissatisfaction with oneself, one’s life, and surroundings;
  • Negative thinking.

Important! Somatic diseases of a nervous nature have vague symptoms and an unclear disease picture. This feature complicates diagnosis and treatment.

Somatic Diseases in Childhood

Children are not immune to somatic diseases. The cause may lie in a difficult pregnancy (infections, toxemia, stress), family conflicts, non-acceptance among peers. Due to the weakness of their bodies and psyches, children are more susceptible to such diseases than adults.

Signs of Somatic Diseases in Children:

  • Sensitivity to infections;
  • Emotional lability;
  • Mood swings;
  • Tendency towards allergies;
  • Sensitivity to weather changes;
  • Tics, stuttering, and similar psychomotor disorders;
  • Weak immunity.

Important! Sometimes a general somatic weakness is observed in a child. They often get sick and lag in psychoemotional and physical development.


Despite the vagueness of the clinical picture, several common signs of somatic disorders can be identified.

Appetite Disturbance

A person may lose appetite or experience uncontrollable hunger. This is sometimes accompanied by nausea or vomiting. The patient refuses food or, conversely, overeats. This condition is observed in gastrointestinal diseases, hormonal disorders, infections, and nervous disorders of eating behavior.


Obsessive concern about health. A person perceives normal bodily reactions as anomalies, for example, stomach rumbling, mild headache from fatigue, rare belching, etc. The patient constantly searches for symptoms, diagnoses themselves, and studies professional medical literature. Behind this lies the fear of death and a lack of attention.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A person does not accept their appearance or worries about a certain, often imaginary, flaw. Anything can be a cause for concern: wrinkles, height, weight, eye color, hair, nose or ear shape, breast size, etc. In severe cases, there is a distorted perception of the body. For example, a healthy or even thin girl may see herself as very overweight in the mirror.

Conversion Disorder

The cause of conversion disorder is a neurotic conflict. These are temporary disorders that disappear immediately after resolving a difficult life situation. Examples of such diseases: deafness, paralysis, blindness.


Physical discomfort, unpleasant symptoms that are felt by a person as real. The peculiarity is that medical diagnostics do not find grounds for these sensations, meaning the person is physically healthy. They are not faking, they genuinely feel pain, heat, tachycardia, etc., but the cause lives exclusively in their psyche, not the body. This is observed in neuroses, depression, paranoia, manic-depressive psychosis.

Types of senestopathy:

  • Feeling of tension, strain (e.g., in muscles);
  • Thermal sensations (heat, cold, burning, chills);
  • Feeling of pulsation;
  • Sensation of fluid movement;
  • Pain;
  • Sensation of organ movement, twisting.

Senestopathies have a distinctive feature – their description is always vague or very emotional and colorful. Patients say that their body is in agony, that the stomach and liver seem to have swapped places, etc. This becomes the main criterion for diagnosis.

Somatization Disorder

A neurotic illness where the client complains of certain symptoms, but no medical explanation is found. Suggestions that discomfort is related to the psyche are met with strong and even aggressive reactions. Somatization disorder often combines with anxiety and depressive disorder. The diagnosis is made in the presence of persistent and obsessive senestopathies for at least two years. Examples: irritable bowel syndrome, shortness of breath, choking, cardiospasm.

Sleep Disturbance

A person suffers from insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, drowsiness. Sometimes the patient is tormented by nightmares, or they wake up frequently at night. Such a symptom is observed in hormonal disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

Pain Syndrome

Pain is encountered in 90% of cases. It differs in character, location, intensity, etc. Most often observed in anxious, suspicious, sensitive people.

Masked Depression

The patient is unaware of their condition, classic symptoms of depression are absent. The subject is active and cheerful, leads a normal life, and communicates willingly with people. However, the client is convinced that they are ill with some rare and poorly diagnosable somatic disease.

Hysterical Conversion Disorders

Manifested by exaggerated and demonstrative emotional reactions, convulsions, partial or complete loss of sensitivity, increased libido, altered state of consciousness. More common in women and people with certain traits:

  • Prone to fantasizing;
  • Suggestibility;
  • Superficiality in judgments;
  • Mood swings;
  • Desire for attention;
  • Theatrical behavior.

Asthenic Syndrome

A neurosis where a person feels apathy and powerlessness. Also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Other characteristics of this state:

  • Mood instability with a predominance of depressive tendencies;
  • Decreased work capacity;
  • Quick fatigue;
  • Restlessness;
  • Distractibility;
  • Heightened reaction to external stimuli;
  • General weakness;
  • Whimsicalness;
  • Tearfulness.

Sexual Function Disorders

Decreased libido, pain during intimacy, erection problems, inability to achieve orgasm. Such changes can accompany dozens of diseases, from mental disorders to heart and spine diseases. Associated with low self-esteem, quarrels in relationships with a partner, fears.

Mental Disorders in Somatic Diseases

The connection between the body and the psyche works the other way around. If a person learns about a disease, their well-being worsens. And the longer the treatment continues, the more nervous the person becomes.

Mental disturbances that occur with somatic diseases:

  • Fear of death;
  • Irritation;
  • Aggression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Suspiciousness;
  • Conflict;
  • Decreased cognitive skills;
  • Feeling shattered;
  • Feelings of loneliness, uselessness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Depression;
  • Slowness;
  • Delirium;
  • Hallucinations.

Even mental disorders can develop, such as apathetic or depressive, borderline mental disorders in somatic diseases. Mental changes depend on the character of the person and the features of the disease. The longer a person is ill, the more irritable and angry they become. And people with a terminal diagnosis suddenly lose interest in life. But this is wrong, as a positive attitude is the foundation of successful treatment.

Important! The doctor should monitor the internal psychological picture of the client’s illness, their reactions to the illness itself and the treatment. This is especially important in the treatment of chronic and severe diseases.

Which Doctors to Consult if a Somatic Disorder Occurs

If you have suspicious symptoms, it is recommended to consult a therapist. The therapist will conduct a general examination and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist. The specialist will conduct additional tests, make an accurate diagnosis, and advise on how to treat the pathology (if there is a medical basis). Or they will refer you to a psychotherapist or neurologist (if no medical disorders are found). The psychologist will then develop a psychotherapy plan.

Important! Psychotherapy is the main treatment for somatic diseases.

Prevention of Somatic Diseases

Treatment depends on the client’s characteristics and the specifics of the disease. However, preventive measures are the same for various somatic diseases:

  • Taking vitamins and dietary supplements (consult a doctor before choosing);
  • Physiotherapy procedures;
  • Therapeutic exercises and regular sports activities;
  • Proper nutrition;
  • Meditation and relaxation;
  • Individual and group psychotherapy sessions (if necessary);
  • Timely detection and treatment of pathologies;
  • Developing positive thinking;
  • Observing work and rest regimes.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact factors and causes of diseases are still not precisely established. It has been noted that there may be a neurological basis (the system sends incorrect signals from organs to the brain) or a hereditary predisposition, genetic features. Other studies suggest that stress plays a role. But often, the causes have a complex effect.

Can Somatic Disorders Be Prevented?

Preventing the development of somatic diseases is possible. Here’s what you should do (recommendations for families, adults, and children):

  • Lead a healthy lifestyle;
  • Eat healthily;
  • Take walks;
  • Engage in sports;
  • Avoid overexertion and strain;
  • Avoid stressful situations;
  • Undergo preventive medical examinations;
  • Give up harmful habits;
  • Change your attitude towards life and yourself.

It’s important to radiate love and maintain a positive attitude. It’s harmful to deny yourself pleasures, suppress your talents, and live contrary to your true self. Remember, at the root of any somatic pathology lies an inner personal conflict.

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