Professore Emerito, Dipartimento di Scienze della Riproduzione e dello Sviluppo, Università di Trieste
Key words: Psychosomatics, Psychotherapy, Child
The relationship between physiological responses to stressful stimuli and the onset of psychosomatic illnesses has been an area of intense interest for many years. Subtle disregulations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis have been proposed as an underlying pathophysiological mechanism for some psychosomatic disorders. Links between the gut and the brain, involving neuroendocrine associations of the enteric nervous system and its connections with the spinal, autonomic and central nervous systems, are well documented. The characterising feature of psychosomatic disorders is the possibility to treat them with psychotherapy. The following diseases are included among those having a psychosomatic component: fibromyalgia, migraine, recurrent abdominal pain, chronic fatigue and, maybe, irritable bowel syndrome. It has been shown that also tumoral, infective and autoimmune diseases have a psychosomatic component, which, in some cases, may influence their prognosis.
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