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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Psychogenic Illnesses

 sissy - Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:29 pm

My Friend who is 81 years old, lost her husband to a drunk driver. Since this traumatic event she has developed a series of "illnessess", such as Atopic Dermatitis, frozen right arm, sporadic hoarseness in throat, Lymphedema, among others. She also has spine problems, and is now treating with an Interventional Pain Management Physician, who has recommended she see the psychologist in their practice. I have studied her symptoms, and she has admitted to me that when she thinks of her husband she itches like crazy, her voice gets hoarse, and her pain increases. After her husbands' demise, she fell ill for over a year, and it was touch and go if she would ever recover. She did not tell me what she had. The illnesses now are not attributable to any illness or pathology. All her tests are negative! They cannot find a reason for her Lymphedema either. It just happens.

I looked on the Internet and saw some interesting information indicating that she may need aphychiatrist to treat her. I believe, but I am no doctor, that this woman has psychogenic illnesses. Each time she has a bout with one of them they seem to get more serious and I am worried that she may soon join her husband.
I want to help her, but do not want to nudge her in the wrong direction.
Would this be a good idea for her to see the psychologist\psychiatrist for a work up to see if they could help her? Am I correct in thinking she suffers from illnesses brought on by the trauma of having your husband killed suddenly by a drunk driver.

I am well-aware of the seriousness of an accident with a drunk driver, as I am a survivor of just one of these accidents, and suffer the chronic pain of a very badly damaged spine. I have seen the psychologist she will be seeing, and he specializes in the pain patients. I also suggested she see my pain mgt drs, which she is doing faithfully. She has not given up hope, nor is she depressed.

Please help me help my friend.
 DeLWolcott - Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:10 pm

Yes, it does seem that a psychological workup may be in order for her to learn ways to cope with the death of her husband. If medications are deemed necessary, the psychologist can give her the referral.
 DeLWolcott - Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:13 pm

I need to finish my final sentence of my previous post...

If medications are deemed necessary, the psychologist can give her the referral to a psychiatrist.

Apologies for not clarifying.

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