The Science Behind Psychosomatic Disorders

We’ve all had symptoms that make us think something is wrong, only to be told by a doctor that everything seems fine. Neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan joins us to talk about what to do when we experience these psychosomatic events – and to explain what our bodies might be trying to tell our minds. Her new book is called “Is It All In Your Head?: True Stories of Imaginary Illness” (Other Press).

Dr. Suzanne O’Sullivan on … 

… why some people develop psychosomatic disorders: 

“It’s very important for people to realize that our bodies are in a constant state of reacting physically to emotional things. And also for people to realize how absolutely instantaneous it is. If you watch a news broadcast that shows something upsetting, many people will have an immediate physical reaction to that. And we accept that because it’s so usual and it’s so common. We experience it all the time. My point really is that if something which doesn’t relate directly to your own life and something relatively small to you can produce such an instantaneous physical reaction then why shouldn’t it be just as likely that if you are suffering more long-standing stresses in your life, for example, that your body might react in an even more extreme way.”