AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in History of Psychiatry, “‘The voice of the stomach’: the mind, hypochondriasis and theories of dyspepsia in the nineteenth century” by E Allen Driggers. Abstract:
Physicians and surgeons during the nineteenth century were eager to explore the causes of stomach and intestinal illnesses. Theories abounded that there was a sympathy between the mind and the body, especially in the case of the dyspepsia. The body was thought to have physical symptoms from the reactions of the mind, especially in the case of hypochondriasis. Digestive problems had a mental component, but mental anguish could also result from physical problems. Dissertations from aspiring as well as established physicians probed the mental causes of irritable bowel diseases and other diseases in the medical literature. Healing was thought to come from contextualizing the link between the problems of the mind and the resulting physical problems of the body.