Originally published in 1976, this volume reports research that will help us to understand the causes of psychogenic diseases. It deals both experimentally and theoretically with the question of symptom specificity in psychosomatic research – why some individuals respond to psychological stress with gastric disorders, others with sexual impotence, and still others with high blood pressure. As the author notes in summarizing his conclusions, “The repeated pairing of activation of a given organic system with intense nervous stress directs the pathological influence of the stressor primarily upon the system activated; subsequently the natural stimuli which would ordinarily activate the system in a normal manner sustain the pathological stressor’s effect as a conditioned stimulus for the stressor effect.” The translation of this work from the original Russian brings to the attention of Western investigators new and useful models of stress-induced disorders, and sheds new light on the pervasive problem of psychosomatic disease.
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