One of the most popular scapegoats for a host of MUPS is depression. Depression is comorbid with hundreds of ailments, and unsurprisingly is also a symptom of a multitude of systemic autoimmune disorders and some other types of difficult-to-diagnose diseases. There is a relationship between depression and fatigue, stress, pain, and innumerable other complaints. When no easy solutions present themselves, depression is usually blamed for a patient’s aches and low energy. But when depression is also a symptom, treating it alone can be ineffective and further confuse patients and medical professionals.
Depression is one common example of how the mind and body affect one another, but there are other mental illnesses that can manifest in strange ways. Hypochondria, a word that has made its way into the popular lexicon and sometimes even used against the chronically undiagnosed, is in fact a mental illness. True hypochondriacs believe they are ill although no real symptoms of disease are present, allowing their concern for their health to interfere with their relationships, jobs, and daily life. Patients with demonstrable symptoms that do not respond to treatment are unlikely to suffer from hypochondria.
Other Somatoform Disorders
Tangible symptoms do not necessarily rule out a mental illness, however. In certain types of disorders, often referred to as “conversion disorder”, “somatization disorder” or “somatoform disorder”, it is believed that the brain actively causes physical symptoms. Unlike hypochondria, where the illness resides mostly in the patient’s mind, these types of disorders can cause pain, sexual dysfunction, and even false pregnancy in extreme cases. Somatoform disorders are a legitimate illness and the physical symptoms that sufferers feel are real, but the underlying cause of the symptoms is psychological instead of pathological