Medical and surgical conditions are often imitated and exaggerated by mental causes. This circumstance constitutes a menace in diagnosis and treatment. Stevenson1 recently found in a large medical clinic that 19 per cent of the patients who came to the gastro-intestinal specialist had severe emotional problems, and that in only one fourth of the cases were mental or emotional disturbances absent. In 16 per cent of the children brought to the pediatric clinic, emotional factors arising in the home were responsible for the disorders in the children.
A vast amount of evidence has accumulated to show that mental conflicts and emotional disturbances upset the normal physiologic functions of the vegetative or sympathetic system. This system, as is known, regulates secretion, circulation, digestion and respiration. If it is disturbed, functional disability takes place in the viscera associated with these functions, such as kidneys, heart and stomach. When this functional upset
WHOLEY CC. THE MENACE OF MENTAL FACTORS IN BODILY DISEASES. JAMA. 1930;95(15):1073-1076. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720150013005