Antecedents to Somatoform Disorders: A Pre-and Perinatal Psychology Hypothesis
The somatoforn cluster of behavioral disorders is the single most frequent class of unexplainable problems found in primary care medical settings today. What is known about these disorders is that there are physiological, social, and psychological variables that need to be considered. What is not known is how a person develops a propensity toward having physical symptoms as their primary complaint. The author suggests that human beings are classically conditioned when faced with intolerable emotional experiences in the womb or during birth. The residual feelings are laid down in the developing brain's neural pathways in an adaptative strategy of escape and avoidance (focusing on the body instead of the feelings), allowing the organism to survive.
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