How MBS/TMS develops (cont.)
The most recent addition to the Mind Body Syndrome list is a disorder called interstitial cystitis; a disorder of bladder pain, urgency, and frequency of urination. I have seen several patients with this "new" disorder who have been helped by the recognition that they in fact were not suffering from an incurable disorder, but one that was caused by reactions to life events that were highly stressful.
Finally, psychological reactions can also occur due to powerful underlying emotions. I have a patient who developed severe sadness when his wife worked on Sunday afternoons, although he never had any symptoms when she worked on any other day of the week. He had no idea why this happened, but his therapist helped him look at his past and they uncovered the cause. It turned out that as a child he lived with an aunt and uncle during the week and returned to his mother on the weekends. Tragically, his uncle abused him physically and it was Sunday afternoons when he left the comfort and love of his mother to return to the "evil" uncle. When his wife left him on Sunday afternoons, it would trigger the long buried emotional responses and this lead to depression on those occasions. It could just as easily have led to back pain or headaches. That is how the body works. The fact that we get physical and emotional symptoms due to stress and our emotional reaction to stress (even if we're not aware that we are having an emotional reaction) is basically normal. Everyone has physical and psychological symptoms in reaction to stress. It confirms the fact that we are human because that is how the human brain works.
Dr. John Sarno has written several excellent books on the subject, including Mind over Back Pain, The Mindbody Prescription, and The Divided Mind. I have seen many people who have been able to cure themselves of their symptoms by simply reading one of Dr. Sarno's books and applying the principles to their mind and body. In fact, one man who had suffered from fibromyalgia for over 15 years found that all of his pain disappeared after reading only 20 pages of The Mind Body Prescription! I told him that was a record and congratulated him on this insight and his cure. I figured that he wouldn't really need to use my program. However, a couple of weeks later he called to tell me that his symptoms came back immediately when his son (who has caused him much grief) returned home for a visit and then disappeared again after the visit. He needed this program in order to learn how to prevent the re-emergence of pain. I have found that many people need more than just the education about the Mind Body Syndrome in order to get better. Many need to undergo psychotherapy to help them understand and cope with the emotional issues in their life. However, a great number of people have been able to help themselves by using an educational program, such as the one on this web site. This program includes an understanding of the Mind Body Syndrome but adds a detailed and systematic method for understanding and coping with physical and psychological symptoms. In addition, the exercises and meditations will help you to understand yourself much better and develop the attitudes and skills to prevent the MBS/TMS in the future.