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Can a Problem Be Both Physical and Psychological?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From the U.S.: I’ve suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I had a rough childhood which included sexual and mental abuse. I’ve always coped well, for the most part. About 5 years ago I started having severe body aches and pains along with chronic fatigue. This also started about the same time I gained employment with an employer that put a great amount of stress on me. I’ve since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a paralyzed vocal cord, 100% loss of smell, Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD (diagnosed in my early 30’s).

I recently had vocal cord surgery to help improve my voice, which was very horse and I would completely loose it for sometimes weeks at a time. I find that I get very anxious every time I try to talk to anyone, other than a family member since the surgery. I can produce sound, but I’m finding that when I try to talk I just clamp up and can’t get the words out. Sometimes I can only whisper. I know there’s a physical component, but I feel I should be able to at least talk horsely! The doctors cannot explain why I can’t talk at all. I also see a psychiatrist and am on Anxiety/Depression meds, Effexor 150 mg/day to be exact.

For the last several months, I find it hard to leave my house at all. I do go to the grocery store, but that’s about it and it takes me hours to convince myself to go and sometimes I’ll put it off for days. Could my voice/mutism issues be both physical and phycological? How do I bring this up to my doctor?

Thank you.

Can a Problem Be Both Physical and Psychological?

Answered by on -


Yes. Absolutely. A problem can be an interface of both the physical and the psychological. I do encourage you to talk to your doctor. One way to approach it might be to share your letter. You do want to be sure that all medical reasons for the problem have been checked.

If so, then I do urge you to see a psychologist. It is very possible that you lost your “voice”, i.e., your ability to express yourself, for psychological reasons. You have listed plenty of reasons why you might, however unconsciously, want to maintain your silence.

Please don’t be embarrassed by this. If the root of the problem is psychological, it is probably in some way self-protective. You and your therapist will figure it out. With good support and practical help, I have every reason to believe you’ll regain the power of your own speech.

I wish you well,

Dr. Marie

Can a Problem Be Both Physical and Psychological?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can a Problem Be Both Physical and Psychological?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Dec 2018 (Originally: 22 Dec 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 19 Dec 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.