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How frequently peripheral neuropathy is caused by psychosomatic illness, if the patient has psychiatric health in check ?

I know that these days a psychosomatic diagnosis for illness , especially any involving chronic pain and other issues that don t fit into an obvious diagnosis, is common. I also know that if a patient has an underlying anxiety disorder , doctors often jump to the psychosomatic diagnosis, because to them, it seems the most obvious. I agree with Occam s razor myself, but I don t agree with this if a patient exhibits chronic pain accompanied by other long term health issues, especially if that patient follows a healthy diet and exercise program and has their anxiety under control. I know how the human brain can effect the physical body, but I d like to know how frequently peripheral neuropathy is caused by psychosomatic illness, if the patient has their psychiatric health in check?
Asked On : Sat, 22 Dec 2012
Answers:  2 Views:  730
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Psychiatrist 's  Response

Welcome to HealthcareMagic Public Forum

First it is important to know that psychosomatic symptoms do not cause neuropathy. But neuropathic pain tend to increase in severity in presence of anxiety and depression due to somatisation of these illness.

Distinguishing neuropathic pain from psychosomatic complaints is a clinical challenge to physician. Following clinical faeture help in identifying psychosomatic pain or exacerbation of neuropathic pain by somatisation:
-Distribution of area of pain, atypical to neuropathic pain area.
-Severity of pain is more than expected
-Temporal relationship of complaints to anxiety and depressive symptoms.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you.
Wish you Good Health.

Dr. Ashish Mittal
Answered: Mon, 24 Dec 2012
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Psychiatrist Dr. Sundar Gnanavel's  Response
Thanks for the query. Peripheral neuropathy is not caused by any psychosomatic illness. However, symptoms mimicking neuropathy can present with psychiatric illnesses called "pseudoneuropathic symptoms". Also, pre-existing pain can be exacerbated as a result of an underlying psychiatric illness/symptom. There is a complex inter-communication between body and mind in mediating pain symptoms. Complements for a thought-provoking question.
Dr Sundar Gnanavel
Answered: Sun, 30 Dec 2012
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