Psychogenic Pain

Psychogenic pain, also called psychalgia, is physical pain that is caused, increased or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioural factors.

Headache, backache or stomach-ache are some of the most common forms of psychogenic pain. It may occur, in rare cases, in persons with mental illness, but more generally it is accompanied or is caused by social rejection, broken heart, sadness, heartbreak, or other such emotional events.

Sufferers are often stigmatized because both medical professionals and the general public tend to think that the pain from a psychic source is not “real.” However, specialists believe that it is no less factual or hurtful than pain from other sources.

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage ” (emphasis added). In the note to this definition, the following can be found about the pain that happens for psychological reasons:

Many people report pain in the absence of tissue damage or any likely pathophysiological cause; this is usually done for psychological reasons. There is usually no way to distinguish their experiences from those due to tissue damage if we report the personal. If they regard their experience as pain and if they report it in the same way as the pain caused by tissue damage, it must be accepted as pain.

Medicine also refers to psychogenic pain or psychalgia as a form of chronic pain called persistent pain somatoform disorder or functional pain syndrome. Causes can be linked to tension, unspoken emotional conflicts, psychosocial problems, or various mental disorders. Some experts believe that psychogenic chronic pain exists as a protective distraction to keep dangerous suppressed emotions such as anger or anger unconscious.

It remains controversial, however, that chronic pain can be caused purely by emotional causes. Treatment may include psychotherapy, antidepressants, painkillers, and other drugs used for chronic pain in general.

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