Mental and physical problems have always existed

Psychosomatics and Mental Illnesses

Almost all diseases express themselves on both a physical and emotional level. Psychological and physical well-being also influence one another. Psychosomatics is the medical specialty that deals with the treatment of diseases in which psychological factors are particularly in the foreground.

The term Psychosomatic is derived from the two Greek words psyche (soul) and soma (body). Psychosomatic treatment takes mental, social and physical aspects of the disease into account. An individual treatment offer is developed for each patient.

In psychosomatic rehabilitation, patients are treated in whom psychological factors play a role. This includes diseases in which mental symptoms are directly in the foreground, e.g. B. fears or depression, but also illnesses in which psychological symptoms play an important role as a cause or consequence of physical complaints.

For many years it has been successfully treated among other things eating disorder (Anorexia, bulimia, obesity), depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, pain conditions, sleep disorders, functional complaints, personality disorders, ADHD, sexual dysfunction and behavioral disorders.

Mental disorders also arise in connection with or as a result of severe or chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, cancer, chronic rheumatoid arthritis or physical disabilities caused by accidents.

A large number of people in Germany suffer from serious physical ailments that significantly change and limit their way of life. That puts a strain on the body and psyche alike.

First and foremost, cancer is to be mentioned here, but also the consequences of accidents, hereditary diseases, serious heart diseases that break out in different phases of life, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as B. Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, but also from birth existing physical and mental limitations and much more.

What these diseases have in common is that a conventional way of life is often no longer possible or difficult, and those affected have to constantly adapt to the associated restrictions. Many people react to this with sadness, resignation, discouragement and hopelessness up to and including the desire to part with life.

Psychotherapeutic treatment in the clinics can help those affected to cope with the painful loss of independent life and to discover and expand the possibilities that still exist for a satisfactory way of life. It is not about "symptom relief", but about the acceptance of the unchangeable and the use of possibilities. If the course of treatment is positive, those affected report helpful changes due to the restriction, in the sense that life afterwards can be experienced and lived more intensely, richer in interpersonal contacts and more vividly in a spiritual sense.


eating disorder

Everyone has to eat every day. But if the subject of "eating" is always the focus of thinking and feeling, there may be a psychosomatic illness. The two most well-known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and binge eating (bulimia nervosa). Binge eating is also to be viewed as an eating disorder. Eating disorders can be viewed as disorders of behavior and experience. Common to all disorders is the constant mental and emotional preoccupation with the subject of "eating". There is usually a connection with psychosocial stress factors and / or with problematic attitudes towards their own body. Many sufferers withdraw out of shame. But that does not solve the eating disorder or its actual causes. Behavioral medical therapies help to find and implement individual solutions.


Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. They are even more common in Germany than z. B. Anxiety Disorders. The way to an effective treatment is often long, as many sufferers look to themselves to blame and avoid therapeutic help. Only in a fraction of those affected are the symptoms recognized as a depressive condition and an even smaller proportion are adequately treated. With targeted therapies, it is possible for those affected to find ways out of depression and towards a more carefree life.

Many people are affected: According to a current report by the Federal Ministry of Health, 15% of women and 8% of men go through a depressive phase with a clear disease value (depressive episode) within one year - around 4 million people in Germany suffer from depression that requires treatment.
Depressive illnesses are not only one of the most common illnesses, but also one of the most underrated. On the one hand, this is due to the nature of the disease: many sufferers do not recognize the value of the disease themselves and mistakenly feel responsible for their current situation. Anyone who sees their condition as a personal failure is therefore not looking for professional help. On the other hand, it is also not easy to recognize the disease, because physical complaints are often in the foreground (headache, back pain, sleep disorders), so that, according to estimates, the disease is not recognized in 50% of cases and for that reason alone is not treated properly can.
The possibilities for an early diagnosis are definitely available and the treatment successes are clear and sustainable.
When you suffer from depression, not only your physical condition has changed, but also your behavior and experience: depressed people feel exhausted and powerless, they have a deep need for rest and protection. As a result, those affected withdraw and avoid social activities, as this would only make them feel overwhelmed. Activities that provided joy and satisfaction before the illness now seem to be completely pointless; every little activity becomes an effort. Thoughts usually only go round in circles (brooding) and do not lead to a solution to the problem; in terms of content, the thinking is focused on their own failure, the sick all too often accuse themselves of inactivity. In the illness you are firmly convinced that you have failed, well-intentioned persuasion from family members or friends ricochets off the sick person. Feelings have also changed: In depression, one is not just sad, but deeply desperate and feels absolutely helpless, and feelings of fear often arise. In severe depression, feelings can no longer be differentiated, as everything is overlaid with a leaden heaviness. In contrast to the withdrawal, the organism is usually very active, which is expressed in a feeling of inner restlessness.
On the physical level, a multitude of other complaints can occur that cause additional suffering: Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, headache, back pain or chest pain, loss of sexual desire, loss of appetite with subsequent weight loss is just as possible as cravings with subsequent weight gain. The diagnosis of depression can only be made reliably by combining the multitude of different symptoms outlined above into an overall assessment of the clinical picture. During medical consultations, people with depression often only describe a part of their complex symptoms to the doctor - for example, they only ask for painkillers for their back pain or sleeping pills to treat the sleep disorder - and the underlying disease, depression, remains undetected for a long time.
Depression occurs in different forms: Depression can occur once (depressive episode) or repeatedly and show different degrees of severity (mild, moderate, severe episode), it can subside completely or it can also take a chronic course. In some affected persons, the depressive mood is persistent, but not so severe and without great fluctuations, one then speaks of a dysthymia. If a depressive episode lasts for over 2 years, or if depressive episodes recur over a period of 2 years without a complete remission between them, experts speak of chronic depression.
Depending on the degree of severity or the extent of the impairments (e.g. threat to work and productivity, severe social withdrawal, considerable loss of interest), inpatient treatment may be necessary. In the case of acute self-endangerment (suicidality), inpatient psychiatric treatment is usually necessary. If this can be ruled out, in-patient or day-patient treatment in a specialist psychosomatic clinic should be considered.
There is effective help: In psychosomatic therapy, depressed patients meet experts who take the physical aspects of the disease into account and understand their emotional feelings. They offer the right support to reorganize behavior and depressive thought patterns without overwhelming yourself. Patients receive help in coping with their everyday life as well as in coping with individual depressive symptoms. You will be actively involved in the therapy right from the start; the treatment goals are drawn up together with the therapist and worked out individually.

Anxiety disorders

"I have to die." - "Now I have a heart attack." - "If I fall over here, I will embarrass myself in front of all other people." Does that sound familiar to you? You are not alone with a racing heart, shortness of breath, panic attacks or sweating: Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses.

Depending on the scientific study, between 14 and 25 percent of all people will develop an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. All anxiety disorders are characterized by the fact that those affected are under high internal tension and experience more or less strong physical symptoms such as palpitations, tremors, sweating, visual disturbances, high blood pressure or "soft knees".
In addition to the stress caused by the actual anxiety attacks, the quality of life suffers in the long term primarily from pronounced avoidance behavior; those affected dare to do less and less activities outside the security area of ​​their home or family, until finally no more social or professional activities take place at all.
In the group of anxiety disorders, a distinction is made between various sub-disorders, which are usually named after the trigger for an anxiety attack. Spontaneous healing is very rare in anxiety disorders. Therefore, action must be taken. And it's worth it, because patients with anxiety disorders can be treated well with behavioral therapy. If left untreated, there is an increased risk of a chronic course.


Obsessive-compulsive disease

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a pattern of behavior in which the person concerned has to repeat certain actions incessantly, but repeatedly tries to defend himself against doing it again, but ultimately succumb to the compulsion to repeat.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can manifest itself in obsessive-compulsive thoughts and / or compulsions. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions have very different appearances, but they also appear together. Imposing thoughts (e.g. "Did I turn the stove off?") Are just as much a standard variant of human habits as pseudo-compulsive behaviors (e.g. always aligning the desk pad parallel to the edge of the desk). Compulsions only get disease value when they cause significant consequential problems in those affected, e. B. Massively restrict professional and social activities. Despite the assessment of the symptoms as exaggerated and inadequate, those affected find themselves unable to withstand these pressures. States of inner tension associated with fear, disgust or other intense and aversive feelings can only be relieved by performing repetitive actions (compulsory rituals).

Some obsessive-compulsive patients often feel that they have lost control over their lives, their own experience has become alien to them, they no longer trust their own memories, are no longer sure of their own needs and desires, and often suffer from a so-called " Incompleteness ", d. H. they experience the feeling of "not completely there or absent" during their compulsive actions.

Patients who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder usually only become noticeable clinically when the symptoms are so restrictive that private and professional duties are barely fulfilled. Most of those affected have already gone through years of suffering by this time. The chronification that took place at the time of the initial diagnosis led to a number of unsuccessful attempts at coping with depressive, helpless experiences and behavior. Accordingly, many obsessive-compulsive patients have depressive symptoms and problems in dealing with others. The caregivers of those affected have often already adopted a fatalistic-resigned attitude, which enables the sick to have less and less corrective experiences.

Since those affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder have generally lost the feeling of normalcy, behavior therapy treatment can consequently help to restore normalcy.


Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (abbreviation: PTSD or PTSD for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) occurs as a result of extremely stressful events that have been traumatically experienced and processed.
These can be sudden, only short-lasting events such as accidents, assaults, rape or natural disasters, but also long-lasting stresses, such as years of violence in the parental home or partnership, several years of sexual abuse, war, torture or hostage-taking. Characteristically, in certain everyday situations there is an agonizing recall of the traumatic events, often in the form of images or nightmares, mostly associated with feelings of fear, helplessness, high tension, functional physical complaints and avoidance behavior. Other mental disorders (e.g. anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, addictions) or physical illnesses are very often associated with post-traumatic stress.

In treatment in psychosomatic clinics, patients are first given information about PTSD and treatment options in the stabilization phase, as well as techniques for distancing themselves from traumatic memories, for relieving tension or for stopping dissociation (dissociation = deterioration of mental processes, resulting in loss of mental functions). In the confrontation phase, if there is sufficient stability, the actual trauma processing takes place. In the integration phase, the goal is to learn to accept the consequences of trauma, to rebuild long-term perspectives and to prevent future crises.


Painful conditions

Pain is both a warning signal and a protective function of the body. Experiencing acute pain is an almost daily experience. On the other hand, one speaks of chronic pain if the pain persists for more than 6 months.

Acute pain lasts from seconds to a maximum of weeks and is usually linked to recognizable triggers. In this case, the elimination of the trigger (e.g. harmful external stimuli or inflammation in the body) is also associated with the end of the pain experience.
Chronic pain disorders are usually preceded by an acute stage of pain (e.g. injuries, illnesses), but the two differ fundamentally in their course. In chronic pain, there is often no close link with clearly identifiable damaging factors, or if pain-related damage can be found, it is usually not easy to remedy (e.g. in the case of rheumatic or degenerative diseases) or the intensity of the pain is more pronounced and is more sustainable than can be expected and justified after assessing the physical damage.
People often react to long-term chronic pain with hopelessness, despair, worry and depressive behaviors and thoughts, as well as sleep disorders, loss of appetite and social withdrawal. These considerable physical, psychological and social burdens are often associated with a loss of quality of life.This can be effectively countered in the clinics with special therapies as part of psychosomatic rehabilitation.


sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are divided into insomnias (too little sleep) and hypersomnias (too much sleep).
The term “sleep disorder” is predominantly understood to mean “too little” sleep. The quality of sleep and / or the amount of sleep in relation to the person's need for sleep are reduced. In the western industrialized countries, it can be assumed that around 25% of the population suffer from insomnia. Sleep disorders also often occur in the context of mental illness.
With regard to possible causes, sleep disorders are divided into non-organic (primary) sleep disorders and those that occur with organic or psychological disorders.
In the case of non-organic (primary) insomnia, the person concerned has often been in a stressful situation, and the associated sleep disorder continues even after this stress has ceased. The person concerned is usually in a cycle of over-excitement, negative thoughts related to sleep and fear of the subject of "sleep". Accordingly, primary insomnias can be treated very well with behavioral therapy.
The main organic sleep disorders are sleep apnea syndrome (sleep-related breathing disorder) and restless legs syndrome (restless legs). Often a sleep laboratory examination is carried out here for further diagnosis. Sleep disorders are a concomitant symptom of many organic diseases.
In psychosomatic clinics, patients with sleep disorders can be treated as part of the treatment of mental illnesses.


Functional complaints

(Complaints without a recognizable organic cause):

Somatoform or functional disorders are physical complaints that are not due to an organic disease and that are assumed to be caused by the soul, for example through high emotional tension, stress or interpersonal conflicts. Examples of this are irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular complaints and dizziness.

Often the symptoms are assigned to organs that are largely or completely controlled by the so-called vegetative nervous system, e.g. B. cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract.
Those affected by somatoform disorders are often unclear about the origin of the symptoms or there are fears that a hidden, possibly dangerous physical illness could be behind it. However, some people affected already know from one or more examinations that their condition is not based on an organic disease or that physical illnesses cannot explain the severity and extent of their symptoms. You therefore think of the possibility of a psychological cause of your symptoms. This can be precisely diagnosed and effectively treated in psychosomatic clinics.


Personality disorders

People are different - their personalities, which are shaped by many factors, make life colorful and interesting. It becomes problematic when clearly deviating patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior lead to a personality disorder that has considerable psychological, psychosomatic and social consequences. People with, for example, paranoid, schizoid, compulsive, narcissistic, or borderline personality disorders need treatment. In psychosomatic clinics, experienced experts can provide targeted and effective help with scientifically based therapies.

Personality styles such as B. Conscientiously, sensitively or confidently describe a characteristic pattern, the way of thinking, feeling and acting. Your own personality style shapes the relationship with the partner, with the children or with the boss and with yourself, it contributes to what work is ours, how we deal with conflicts and much more. A personality disorder occurs when a person shows certain extreme thought and feeling patterns in a particularly pronounced form, which lead to inadequate social behavior. Furthermore, these deviating personality traits must have existed since childhood and adolescence, the resulting behavior must be inflexible and poorly adapted in many personal and social situations and have led to suffering or impairment in social, professional or other important areas of life in a clinically significant manner.
The diagnosis of personality disorders takes place in two steps: To make a diagnosis, these general criteria for the presence of a personality disorder must first be met. Only then can the individual thinking, feeling and behavioral patterns be assigned to a specific personality disorder on the basis of special criteria.
The psychological, psychosomatic and social consequences of illness in patients with personality disorders are diverse and those affected often report a wide variety of complaints and problems. So is z. For example, compulsive personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of constant preoccupation with order, perfectionism, and control. People with this disorder are at risk of developing further mental and psychosomatic illnesses because of their perfectionist tendencies and constant concern about whether they are doing well enough and doing the right thing. Personality disorders can also have a decisive impact on the quality of personal relationships with other people and adversely affect friendships and partnerships as well as family life. Another area concerns professional relationships and attitudes towards professional work, i.e. the way in which someone carries out tasks, makes decisions, how he or she reacts to criticism, follows rules or works with others. A person with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder e.g. B. devotes so much time to work and productivity that free time and friendships often no longer have a place in her life. In particular, dealing with others is often so limited that functional working relationships cannot be maintained and constructive participation in working life is endangered or made impossible.



Not every inattentive or fidgety child is hyperactive. But ADHD, along with conduct disorders, is the most common childhood mental illness.
However, it persists into adulthood in more than half of all cases - around 2% of all adults suffer from ADHD. Those affected often have difficulties in attentively devoting themselves to a task over a long period of time. There is increased distractibility. While increased physical activity is often visible in children with ADHD, adults complain more often of strong internal restlessness and tension. People with ADHD have severe mood swings, are very sensitive, and are prone to impulsive actions. Some of those affected have difficulties with routine tasks and the organization of everyday life. In the case of milder forms of ADHD, no therapy is necessary; support from friends and family is often sufficient (e.g. with the organization of everyday life). Affected people also develop strategies themselves to cope with the symptoms and to use their abilities. However, if there are more severe impairments as a result of the behavioral patterns associated with pronounced symptoms, professional multimodal psychotherapy and / or medical rehabilitation is indicated. In addition to psychotherapeutic treatment, drug treatment can also be considered.
People with ADHD can be treated effectively in clinics: As a rule, targeted psychotherapeutic and rehabilitative measures can sustainably improve the restrictions and disabilities that have occurred in the affected areas of life.


Sexual dysfunction and behavioral disorders

Sexuality is an important area of ​​life for everyone, which can take on very different forms of expression depending on age, gender, life history, cultural background and current life situation. If sexuality develops as a source of suffering or insecurity, treatment in a specialist psychosomatic clinic can be helpful for those affected.

It depends on the personal ideas and expectations of each person which type of sexual development is pleasant and desirable or is to be regarded as 'normal' or 'disturbed'. Disorders in the area of ​​sexuality can result in physical or psychological complaints; on the other hand, physical illnesses and mental disorders can impair sexual experience. Before starting treatment, it is important to get to the bottom of the cause in order to find the way to satisfactory sexual development.