Center of Psychosomatic Medicine opened at Unicare clinic
How would you describe the term of psychosomatic medicine to a patient?
Psychosomatic medicine is a specific field of medicine which is having its target on somatic diseases which are connected significantly to the psychological (emotions, thoughts) or social (relationships at work, in the family) aspects of the patient ´s life. The somatic symptoms itself can vary in great diversity and can range from all the little diseases like headache, back ache, abdominal dysfunctions, allergic reactions up to more serious illnesses. Earlier they have been called functional, because it is just the function that is impaired. Very often, no organic pathological finding can be found, it means, all the results of medical examinations are showing normal results. Usually this makes the patient hop around from one doctor to another, without result, which is even increasing his despair. However, there is also a second category of psychosomatic diseases, which are displaying pathological organic findings, e.g. high blood pressure or gastric ulcers, but the disease does not react in a usual way to common medical treatment.
Are you a potential client for psychosomatic treatment?
If you are a patient who is having some kind of somatic, means body related, symptoms and the symptoms will stay for a longer period of time, in spite of medical treatment, you possibly could be a psychosomatic patient. It is important to stress, that the term psychosomatic patient does not mean, that all your symptoms are “just inside your brain”. It does not mean, that your pain or dysfunctions are solely imagined – the opposite is the truth: the symptoms are absolutely real and present in your body, but they are connected in a significant way to your psycho-social reality. So, what we see in practice are patients, suffering two or three months, but often also years, from a certain symptom, seeing their General Practitioner, visiting several specialists, without having nor the correct diagnosis neither an effective treatment. They will examine you and they will say: listen everything is fine, we can´t find being anything wrong with you – such a condition would seem to be a good indication for a psychosomatic evaluation.
What does a psychosomatic treatment consist of?
The psychosomatic treatment is consisting of several steps. The first step is a comprehensive psychosomatic evaluation of the patient ´s health state. This takes at least 90 minutes, because we really go through the history of the patient diseases, through the complexity of his physical condition and we are combining it with his psychological and social reality. This leads to a true fulfilling of the bio-psycho-social approach of psychosomatic medicine. The goal of this first session is to assess whether a significant psycho-social influence is present or not. If this should not be the case, then we might, in not fully examined patients, indicate further medical tests. If the result will show a high probability of psycho-social impact on the health problems, we will continue with the next steps of psychosomatic treatment. According to the gravity of the patient ´s condition this may range from rather educational psychosomatic work to full blown individual or systemic psychotherapy, with multiple gradation in between.
Psychosomatic treatment – is it for everybody or has it any limits?
Generally spoken, a psychosomatic evaluation can be helpful for any patient. Through amending of the psycho-social aspects to the biological ones, the patient is getting a much deeper understanding of his or her disease. On the other hand, since you have to invest some time and resources, the question is in what cases is it reasonable to do so? Less profit can be expected in cases of short or acute illnesses with a self healing course, e.g. an acute infection, acute back ache etc. Once the patient is confronted with the fact, that such medical conditions keep coming back, or even become chronic, then a psychosomatic evaluation might be very helpful. The same applies for conditions that meet the criteria of MUS (medically unexplained symptoms), i.e. that the patient is displaying symptoms without corresponding findings in medical examinations. In these cases, the key to the understanding, and therefore also to the treatment, of the condition may be found through the psychosomatic approach.
Limits and borders are important to every medical treatment. In the field of psychosomatics, we can find providers, that are claiming a sort of unrestricted and uncritical healing potential of the psychosomatic approach to all medical conditions. For example, also to very serious diseases like cancer or HIV infections. In our view this is not a serious approach and we do have a different philosophy in this respect: psychosomatic medicine is not an alternative to classic school medicine, we consider it to be an integral part of it.
To make an appointment with a psychosomatic doctor, please call at our reception or write at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a meeting with Dr.Masner.