PsychoPhysiologic Disorders

Following a conference about Stress Illness in Ann Arbor, MI in March 2009, a small but diverse group of medical clinicians, mental health practitioners and people with stress illness began discussing ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment. After putting on another conference in Los Angeles in March, 2010 (attended by 200 health care professionals) we were joined by a group of marketing and public relations professionals who believed in our work so much they offered their service free of charge. (One of them even put two of us, myself included, on the Rosie O’Donnell radio show.)

Many teleconferences and emails later, a consensus emerged that long-term success in relieving stress illness will depend on increasing the knowledge and support from all three groups represented on our ad hoc committee: people with stress illness, medical clinicians and mental health professionals. It also became clear to our group that we needed to achieve consensus about terminology since there is a vast number of synonyms for stress illness.

Consequently, our group spent months looking for a new term that would meet the needs of all the key stakeholders. There was considerable debate because most of our group had their own preferred name that they had used for many years. The term that eventually united us, however, was PsychoPhysiologic Disorders or PPD.

One of the strengths of this term is that it can be modified for specific individuals as in, for example, psychophysiologic abdominal pain or psychophysiologic vomiting or psychophysiologic back pain. (This is why we use the plural form “disorders”). ¬†PsychoPhysiologic Disorders clearly emphasizes the equal importance of mind and body and will be comfortable and acceptable to MDs, mental health professionals and, we hope, people with the disorders.

Our group plans to create a non-profit 501(c)3 company named the PsychoPhysiologic Disorders Association to advance the diagnosis and treatment of stress-induced medical conditions. I will let you know when our web site is up and running.

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