Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hysteria: Is the Medical Condition Mental, Physical, or Made Up?

"The doctors did endless scans and biopsies. They found nothing. "After they didn't see any neurological changes, they started invalidating me—their whole mannerism with me changed," she says. She began to wonder if she was somehow causing the whole thing herself.
"This kind of self-doubt is common for patients with conversion disorder. They are vulnerable to the implied message they often get from doctors: there is nothing physically wrong with you, so you must be faking it."
* * *
Which is exactly the reaction doctors want you to have -- become embarrassed by the idea that maybe you're faking, so that you will stop bothering them.
But, according to Dr. Bell's book, fully half of patients initially diagnosed with hypochondria (or hysteria or whatever other name is applied meaning All In Your Head) are eventually diagnosed with a very real condition that matches the symptoms they complained of initially.
Doctors have to stop invalidating patients and accept responsibility for continuing to look for a reason for the symptoms.

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