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Psychology Soul sickness

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
This is from the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association's web pages:
“Soul sickness,” or demoralization, is characterized by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and a perceived sense of incompetence. This condition typically involves vague, unexplained physical symptoms. Soul sickness can be efficiently diagnosed by asking patients a series of questions about their personal lives. Patients with this condition require a restoration of their morale and hope.
I have found that the origin of soul sickness is a patient's inability to deal with internal or external stress. The internal stress may be borne of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. The external stress may arise from insufficient coping skills for dealing with the problems and suffering that life brings almost everyone. Rather than transcending the suffering, patients with soul sickness have “checked out” of life. They no longer feel that they are competent to live productive lives and to meet the expectations of people close to them.
More: Soul Sickness: A Frequently Missed Diagnosis | The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (June 2010, Vol. 110, 347-349)

I thought this was an interesting read, although I don't know about osteopathy, and it might be a bit of a catch-all diagnosis, though perhaps still a useful term?
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
Isn't this just another name for depression?
It certainly has some overlap, but symptoms of depression are not to my knowledge typically said to be physical, as is the case with the AOA's description of soul sickness.

It also sounds a bit more serious. Oh, so you're depressed? Well, everyone feels a bit down in the dumps now and then. (Yes, I know clinical depression is much more severe than the colloquial term depression.) Soul sickness, you said? God heavens, I shall make an appointment with the priest, at once!
 

Andy_T

Addicted Poster
Forum Moderator
Interesting ... that it would be diagnosed by an osteopath (who typically tries to help you by massaging your muscles and manipulating your bones)
 

Tom

Addicted Poster
Location
Upstate New York
"Soul Sickness" sounds a lot like how I feel after I've been listening to too much country music or opera. Vern Gosdin, George Jones, or Merle Haggard, followed by "Tosca", "La Giaconda", or almost anything by Wagner... WHY do I do that to myself??!!

More seriously, I think that link Beancounter posted just above might have a point. I'm not saying some people aren't seriously ill (Robin Williams and Kurt Cobain come to my mind... although I didn't know them and I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, I would have thought they had a lot of reason to want to keep living, and can't help thinking there was some physiological process going on that they couldn't control which drove them to do what they did).
 

plant_happy89

Well Known Member
It certainly has some overlap, but symptoms of depression are not to my knowledge typically said to be physical, as is the case with the AOA's description of soul sickness.

It also sounds a bit more serious. Oh, so you're depressed? Well, everyone feels a bit down in the dumps now and then. (Yes, I know clinical depression is much more severe than the colloquial term depression.) Soul sickness, you said? God heavens, I shall make an appointment with the priest, at once!

My depression manifests itself with physical symptoms: muscle ache, fatigue, loss of appetite. I think soul sickness IS depression.
 

Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
It certainly has some overlap, but symptoms of depression are not to my knowledge typically said to be physical, as is the case with the AOA's description of soul sickness.

It also sounds a bit more serious. Oh, so you're depressed? Well, everyone feels a bit down in the dumps now and then. (Yes, I know clinical depression is much more severe than the colloquial term depression.) Soul sickness, you said? God heavens, I shall make an appointment with the priest, at once!
It gets frustrating, the assumptions people who have not had depression make about depression.

Depression is a risk factor for quite a few of what you might think of as "real" diseases and conditions, one of which is heart disease.

Studies have shown that mental stress has a negative effect on a person’s heart health. In particular:

  • Unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure, arterial damage, irregular heart rhythms and a weakened immune system.
  • Patients with depression have been shown to have increased platelet reactivity, decreased heart variability and increased proinflammatory markers (such as C-reactive protein or CRP), which are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • For people with heart disease, depression can increase the risk of an adverse cardiac event such as a heart attack or blood clots. For people who do not have heart disease, depression can also increase the risk of a heart attack and development of coronary artery disease.
  • In one landmark study, the continued presence of depression after recovery increased the risk of death (mortality) to 17 percent within 6 months after a heart attack (versus 3 percent mortality in heart attack patients who didn’t have depression).2
  • During recovery from cardiac surgery, depression can intensify pain, worsen fatigue and sluggishness, or cause a person to withdraw into social isolation. Patients who have had CABG and have untreated depression after surgery also have increased morbidity and mortality.
  • Patients with heart failure and depression have an increased risk of being readmitted to the hospital, and also have an increased mortality risk.
  • Early research findings have indicated there may be genetic factors that increase a patient’s risk of depression and risk of recurrent cardiac events after a heart attack.3
  • Patients with heart disease and depression also perceive a poorer health status, as manifested by Quality of Life (QoL) studies. Furthermore, heart disease patients with depression have worse treadmill exercise and medication adherence than that of patients with heart disease who do not have depression.4, 5, 6
  • Negative lifestyle habits associated with depression – such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, poor diet and lack of social support – interfere with the treatment for heart disease.
  • Depression has been proven to be a such a risk factor in cardiac disease that the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that all cardiac patients be screened for depression using simple screening questions and an easy-to-administer survey called the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2).7
Cardiac Disease & Depression | Cleveland Clinic

And:

Compared to people without clinical depression, those diagnosed with the mental illness are more than twice as likely to eventually develop Parkinson's, the study shows. And the more severe your depression, the stronger the link to Parkinson's becomes, the study data show.
6 Surprising Diseases Linked To Depression

That's just two. There are other recent studies linking depression to other diseases, including various cancers.

That's why, here in the U.S., clinical depression was'is considered a pre-existing condition which prevented one from obtaining individual health insurance, even with coverage for mental health issues excluded.
 
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