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Psychophysiological Disorders. Thomas G. Bowers, Ph.D. Penn State Harrisburg . Psychophysiological Disorders. Relatively new field of health psychology Refers to physical symptoms or diseases that are caused by or worsen by psychological factors

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psychophysiological disorders

Psychophysiological Disorders

Thomas G. Bowers, Ph.D.

Penn State Harrisburg

psychophysiological disorders2
Psychophysiological Disorders
  • Relatively new field of health psychology
  • Refers to physical symptoms or diseases that are caused by or worsen by psychological factors
  • Formally referred to as psychosomatic disorders
psychophysiological disorders3
Psychophysiological Disorders
  • In contrast to hypochrondrical and conversion disorders, there is often physiological damage to the body
  • Also tends to be involuntary
psychophysiological disorders4
Psychophysiological Disorders
  • Some examples
    • 1. Asthma
    • 2. Hypertension
    • 3. Gastritis
    • 4. Irritable bowel syndrome
    • 5. Headaches
psychophysiological disorders5
Psychophysiological Disorders
  • New fields developing
    • Behavioral Medicine
    • Health Psychology
psychophysiological disorders6
Psychophysiological Disorders
  • Important Concepts
  • Stress
    • Selye (1936)
    • General adaptation syndrome (GAS)
    • Described biological adaptation to prolonged sustained physical stress
cardiovascular disorders
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Frequent source of morbidity and mortality
  • Essential hypertension
    • “High blood pressure”
    • 90% is “essential”
    • Not attributable to physical cause
    • Many are unaware of the difficulty
cardiovascular disorders8
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Essential hypertension
  • systolic/diastolic
  • 120/80 mm hg
  • Must be elevated over a period of time - Repeated physician visits
cardiovascular disorders9
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Essential hypertension
  • Associated with renal failure, increased risk of stroke, artherosclerosis, myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Could be triggered by chronic restriction of renal blood flow, calcification of arteries, inelasticity of vascular system
cardiovascular disorders10
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Flight or fight response to adrenal stimulation
    • Rapid, but brief increase in respiration, heart rate, increased blood supply to extremities, reduced blood supply to torso.
    • Blood pressure temporarily increases
    • Why does this increase become permanent?
cardiovascular disorders11
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Stress - Unexpressed Hostility Link
    • Hokanson and associates
    • Frustration has blood pressure increase
    • Opportunity to express aggression or anger yields blood pressure decrease
cardiovascular disorders12
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Risk Factors
    • Diatheses models
    • Isolation is a risk factor
    • Sensitivity to salt
    • Family history
    • Lack of exercise
    • Smoking
    • Obesity
cardiovascular disorders13
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Coronary Heart Disease
    • 1. Angina pectoris - periodic chest pains
    • 2. Myocardial infarction - heart attack
cardiovascular disorders14
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Coronary Heart Disease
    • Risk factors
      • 1. Age
      • 2. Sex (males higher risk)
      • 3. Cigarette use
      • 4. Hypertension
      • 5. Serum cholesterol
      • 6. EKG abnormalities
      • 7. Diabetes
cardiovascular disorders15
Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Coronary Heart Disease
    • Behavioral Factors
      • Type A behaviors
      • Intense, competitive, driven
      • Urgency, aggressiveness, hostility
      • Associated with CHD
asthma
Asthma
  • Tightness in chest, wheezes, coughs, possible panic
  • Emotionality often implicated
  • Irritants also play an important factor
  • Some allergies
  • Commonly associated with infections
psychotherapy for psychophysiological disorders
Psychotherapy for Psychophysiological Disorders
  • Progressive relaxation training
    • May include yoga, mediation and similar methods
  • Biofeedback
    • Effective, but some evidence of placebo effects as well
psychotherapy for psychophysiological disorders18
Psychotherapy for Psychophysiological Disorders
  • Behavioral interventions
    • Weight management
    • Exercise encouragement
    • Smoking cessation
  • Psychoanalytic methods
    • Have actually been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure
psychotherapy for psychophysiological disorders19
Psychotherapy for Psychophysiological Disorders
  • Cognitive therapies
    • Not as thoroughly researched to date
    • Some data suggests affective expression, managing thoughts and so on are helpful
  • Management of Type A behavior
  • Stress Management
    • Also includes social skill training
    • Environmental changes
medical conditions affected by psychological factors
Medical Conditions Affected By Psychological Factors
  • Many complex, difficult to treat disorders
  • Includes diabetes, hypertension, renal disease, many neurological disorders
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
    • Positive spirit and outlook associated with survival
    • Uncertain why this may be the case
medical conditions affected by psychological factors21
Medical Conditions Affected By Psychological Factors
  • Breast cancer
    • Remarkably high incidence in western societies
    • Early detection is very important
    • Text describes breast self exam method fairly well