Psychogenic disorder is the name given to any physical ailment that is believed to arise from emotional, psychological, or mental stressors. It is most commonly applied to conditions where a physical abnormality or other biomarker has not yet been identified.
Psychogenic disorders were first described in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was Sigmund Freud who first demonstrated the importance of the emotions in producing mental disturbances and somatic disorders (Kaplan et al. 2015). Freud’s work influenced a number of individuals, including Sandor Ferenczi, who in 1926 proposed the idea that conversion reactions were under the control of the autonomous nervous system. In the twentieth century, “psychogenic” or “somaticized” symptoms evolved from predominantly neurologic (e.g., hysterical paralysis) to symptoms such as fatigue and chronic pain. This change has...
References and Readings
- Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2015). Psychosomatic medicine. In Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed., pp. 465–503). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
- Shorter, E. (1992). From paralysis to fatigue: A history of psychosomatic illness in the modern era. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar