Bioethics News

A Psychosomatic Diagnosis Is a Doctor’s Way of Saying, “I Don’t Have a Clue”

January 13, 2017

(Quartz) – The theory of psychosomatic illness is flawed. Many serious illnesses are initially tagged as psychosomatic because they are too complex for doctors to offer a singular explanation or because the patients have no physical symptoms. There may be a connection between the body and mind—the brain is, after all, an anatomical feature of the body—but this does not mean that physiological diseases can be manifested through mental factors. For example, a 2007 commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that while stress can be a factor in some diseases, “a causal relationship” could not be found.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.