Psychosomatic Medicine Becomes Deeper and Wider

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Even in ancient times, physicians and philosophers had some sense of how thoughts and emotions influence the onset or maintenance of illness. Yet the modern era of psychosomatic medicine really started during the 1930s when researchers discovered fight-or-flight reactions to danger and how emotions could speed the heart or slow the gut.

And since then, especially since the dawn of the 21st century, the field has become much more scientifically based, psychosomatic medicine experts say.

“One of the exciting findings in psychosomatic medicine in recent years has been the realization of how prevalent mental illnesses in medical patients are and how such comorbid mental illnesses can adversely affect medical outcomes,” Robert Joseph, M.D., director of consultation-liaison psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Mass., told Psychiatric News. “Those findings have brought home the importance of managing comorbid mental illnesses. They have also caught the attention of policymakers, such that comorbid mental illnesses are now much more readily accepted. That has influenced payment structure as well.”

by Joan Arehart-Treichel, Psychiatric News

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