One of the great books of the twentieth century is Victor Frankel’s, Man’s Search for Meaning. In the book, he describes the need we have to understand why things happen. When someone gets sick, one of the first questions asked is, “Why did this happen?” One of the more frustrating aspects of being a physician is trying to answer this question for people with cancer and other serious physical diseases. For most people, we are forced to say, “I don’t know.” No one is ever happy with this answer.
Fortunately for Mind Body Syndrome, we do know what is causing the symptoms: stress and emotional reactions that were typically primed in childhood and emerge later in life in response to new stressors which are linked to the earlier emotions (“emotional speed dial”), which is coupled with limited awareness or suppression of emotions and body reactions which alert us to a perceived danger. I am currently finishing a book, entitled Unlearn Your Pain, which attempts to detail these processes from a psychological and neurological perspective. It is axiomatic that the greater awareness and understanding of the cause of Mind Body Syndrome, the better we will be able to resolve the underlying emotional conflicts and eliminate the resulting physical or psychological symptoms. Continue reading