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Through illustrative cases the authors show how psychosomatic medicine can be viewed as a "field" in which there is a "constant state of transactional, circular, corrective activity" among somatic, psychological, social, and cultural processes. They discuss and evaluate the earlier psychosomatic disciplines in terms of this field concept.
The longitudinal approach, the attempt to uncover all the factors concerned in each case, is stressed.
Anxiety is emphasized as a warning sign and as a source of biochemical changes, which, if prolonged, can permanently affect predisposed organ systems. The mechanisms of the common syndromes of these organ systems are reviewed and illustrated.
It is important for the nonpsychiatrist to understand these mechanisms, for he must consider emotional factors in diagnosis, recognize those cases who need psychiatric help, and often undertake therapy himself. Also, he must understand his own role. It is not enough that he "do no harm." He is warned,
Psychosomatic Case Book.. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1954;94(6):1048. doi:10.1001/archinte.1954.00250060182019