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  Symptoms, Syndromes, Illness & Disease

The first stage of healing always begins with breakdown. The first stage of healing is characterized by a focus on, and attention to, the external manifestations of distress (symptoms).

Intentional Healing
Elliott Dacher, MD

Distressing Functional Symptoms

Distressing symptoms of mind, body and spirit affect virtually everyone from time to time with variable duration, severity and combinations:

Body Symptoms

Digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain associated with altered bowel function, localized and widespread bodily aching and pain, headaches, dizziness and feeling faint, tremulousness and jitteriness, chest pain, back pain, menstrual symptoms, sexual difficulties, fatigue and low energy, temporomandibular joint/jaw pain, shortness of breath, heart racing or rhythm problems, pelvic pain, bladder problems and sweating

Mind Symptoms

Nervousness, irritability and negative thinking, increased attention to and concern about bodily symptoms, difficulty thinking/remembering, anxiety and panic or phobias, obsessions and depression

Spirit Symptoms

Hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, lack of meaning or purpose, low self-esteem, unhealthy shame, sense of lack of connection, isolation and separation

Medically Unexplained "Functional" Symptoms

Many people with medically unexplained symptoms decide to see a doctor, especially if their symptoms include severe pain, raise concerns about a serious illness like cancer, interfere with life activities (including work, social life, and personal relationships) or become associated with anxiety or depression. Medical research has confirmed that most health care visits are made for common symptoms for which no specific cause can be found. Doctors call these medically unexplained symptoms, "functional" symptoms, because medical tests usually do not show a specific cause for them.

Functional Syndromes

When people with these medically unexplained functional symptoms come to a doctor for help, they often become patients diagnosed with functional syndromes. A functional syndrome is a cluster of related symptoms and signs that were designed to assist doctors in the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s presenting complaints. Because many of the same symptoms occur in different syndromes, which particular functional syndrome that the patient gets diagnosed with depends upon the predominant symptoms and the type of specialist seen. Two common functional syndromes are irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

This process of labeling symptom experience as a specific syndrome with the implication that there may be specific medical treatment and even cure is called, "medicalization." Many patients are confused and frustrated by the process of medicalization and diagnosis of functional syndrome(s).

Click here to learn more about Functional Gastrointestinal Syndromes.

The MindBodySpirit Connection

Functional symptoms and functional syndromes are related illnesses that can only be understood through the MindBodySpirit Connection, which is also an important dimension of many serious diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal blood fats (lipids), and central abdominal obesity that increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. Click here to learn more about this combination of diseases known as Metabolic Syndrome X.


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