Unfortunately some people with symptoms of illness can be sent to one hospital specialist after another trying to find out what medical condition they have. Sometimes there is an undetected medical condition which may be finally discovered, but in other cases it is a mistaken quest. Because anxiety symptoms and emotions generally are so physical in nature (e.g. chest pains, palpitations, dizziness, feeling sick), it is very easy to mislabel physical, emotional reactions as medical illness. One research survey study found that 25% of people treated in emergency for cardiac settings were suffering from panic attacks, not a heart condition. The more a person understands their emotional and mental life, the less likely they are to mislabel emotional feelings as physical illness. In my paperback ‘Emotional Processing: Healing through Feeling’ (Lion-Hudson, Oxford, 2010) I had devoted special chapter to understanding this Mind-Body link better.
I am happy to see people who have been told ‘There is nothing wrong with you’ to assess them and explore whether emotions are playing a part in their distressing condition. After an assessment we could discuss what help might be provided and whether psychological therapy could help.