Can Physical Illness Be a Manifestation of a Psychiatric One?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hello. I’m in need of help. I recently got diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and over the past few months I feel as though things are spiraling worse and worse and worse. I’m so tired, I can barely think straight. Three weeks ago, I got sick. I have headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, weird abdominal pain, a complete lack of appetite, etc. I’m not getting better. I’ve been to multiple doctors, and they’ve done blood tests, X-Rays, ultrasounds, and the doctors literally told me they have no idea what’s wrong with me. So I’m wondering, could this mystery illness be some sort of physical manifestation of my psychological state? And if so, what should I do?
I’m at such a point of exhaustion that I’ve repeatedly considered ending my life or even just hurting myself so that I can be in the hospital. I work seven days a week, and I”m a full-time student. I’m so tired, I just want to drop everything and run away, but I can’t. I can’t even afford the doctor’s bills from the last week. I’m so stressed and I have no idea what to do. I’m scared I’m going to fail out of school.
If you can answer this, please do. I’m in desperate need of advice. Thanks.

A: Thank you for your question. I think you have given the answer as you stated your question. If you’re working seven days a week your body is never getting to rest. When we’re under a great deal of stress the body produces chemicals that try to compensate. If we don’t have enough time to restore ourselves — these chemicals will wear us down. My guess is this is what’s happening.

Meditation and exercise may be the best and most immediate for reversing your symptoms. The combination of not working so much, meditating and exercising should help tremendously. The research on meditation shows that our bodies will respond to these effort — and any meditation practice will do. Exercise helps produce chemical called BDNF that helps the efficiency of brain neurotransmitters that make us feel better. You can learn more about this here.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Apr 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Can Physical Illness Be a Manifestation of a Psychiatric One?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/25/can-physical-illness-be-a-manifestation-of-a-psychiatric-one/