Breathing is life. Why, then, there are situations when our body refuses to breathe, simply depriving us of opportunity not just to function normally, but actually jeopardizing our very existence? Let’s understand in detail what psychological causes of asthma there are and mechanism of its development. After learning a little more about the painful situation, we have a real chance to change something in our lives.
Asthma is one of the most dangerous types of allergies. It manifests itself in the form of asthma attacks, during which it is harder to inhale rather than exhale. Thus the body refuses to let oxygen and other substances present in the air in. At a physiological level, this is reflected in bronchial lumen narrowing – smallest “branches” of our bronchial tree, through which oxygen enters lungs. Lumen is narrowed due to bronchial tree smooth muscles spasm, which is also accompanied by mucosa swelling and excess sputum production. As a result – inability to inhale or severe difficulties in the process.
The reason for such a reaction can be a variety of factors – the presence of allergens in the air such as dust, pollen, animal hair, pungent smell, cold, exercise, severe stress. The reason may be quite insignificant, but the reaction can be very serious and even life-threatening. Very often, an asthma attack can be triggered by the so-called anchors, i. e., repetitive situations, at which there is a similar set of circumstances. And not always the physical presence of an allergen in the air is necessary. An allergic reaction is quite possible to appear, just thinking about it.
Psychological causes of asthma
The psychological metaphor for asthma is the inability to breathe in this complex world, i. e., survival difficulties. Breathing independently we begin only when coming out of our mother’s womb. Until then, we receive necessary for life oxygen through umbilical cord safely connecting us with her. The first breath is the first independent act done by us in our life. And this action is quite painful because at this moment our lungs are accommodating to receive necessary oxygen.
Up to this point, all of our needs were provided completely automatically, and we experienced a sense of comfort and security. First coming to the new world, we are able to live more freely, but cannot be guaranteed to satisfy all our needs, as it was before. Then we felt love and care before and want to continue to feel it in future. If this care is not enough for us, if love poured out upon us by parents is insufficient, then our very first independent system – breathing – begins to fail. Although there may be a reverse situation when care and love of our parents are so excessive that we almost cannot breathe in or breathe out by ourselves because someone is always involved in this process. Thus, lack of care and its surplus equally deprive a child of the ability to breathe freely.
In this regard, there is a need to find a way out of this painful situation for the child. That is, we need to change the situation so that all received necessary things without the above negative consequences. As a result, the whole salvation tactics changes and asthma develops. Showing symptoms of difficulties with breathing, a child realizes that it is a legal and effective way to get necessary care and attention. And overprotective parents get a good excuse for their excessive care. So everybody is happy if only there was no side effect in the form of dyspnea…
But why symptoms develop in such a way, you ask? After all, breathing disorders can be very different. Why asthma?
The fact is that central role in the neuro-psychological mechanism of asthma development formation is played by relationships with mother, in particular, their violation. A child has formed an ambivalent, contradictory attitude to the mother, combining desire of tenderness and fear of it. In other words, this ratio is possible to determine in words love and hate. This attitude to the mother is formed when the mother for some reason rejects her child. Reasons for child’s rejection lay primarily in mother’s emotional immaturity and unresolved problems that have occurred in her childhood. Then, becoming closer to the child’, the mother feels anger towards it which reasonably makes her feel guilty. After all, she does not want to treat her child in that way, but can’t help herself!
A child feels her attitude and feels reciprocal aggression towards her, as well as anxiety and fear, as it is entirely dependent on mother. Open expression of these feelings, in crying and weeping, is forbidden by the mother who says, “Do not cry”, “Stop screaming” or “When is all this over!” As a result, a child is forced to suppress anger and resentment to get in return for good behavior so much needed love and acceptance.
As a result, communication between mother and child goes to another level when a bodily communicative connection is formed, where asthma symptoms serve as the request for kindness, love, and care from the mother. In addition, these symptoms are also an affordable way to express suppressed aggression in the form of managing other people’s actions. After all, asthmatic relatives’ lives go around asthma attacks of their child. Thus asthma symptoms manifestations are a way of manipulating others, forcing them to do what a sick person wants.
In general, suppressed aggression is characteristic of asthmatics. Because their own aggression is experienced as something dangerous, threatening their relationship with others, they have to hide it inside, not letting out. They do not let their anger out in the air, which is manifested in asthma attacks.
Suppressing inner aggression, asthmatics also remain sensitive to external aggression. Therefore, they are so sensitive to any strong impact on the environment by means of bronchial spasm. It serves as a kind of protection against an aggressive agent, trying to penetrate into the body through the upper respiratory tract. In the later stages, choking reaction appears not only in the mere presence of the allergen, but suspicion about its possible presence. And then, every alarm event can serve as a trigger for of bronchospasm development.
According to My Canadian Pharmacy, adult patients with asthma often forget their childhood history, but reaction developed in childhood remains and causes disease development. In later years disease aggravation usually happens when asthmatics need to show courage, responsibility, independence or be able to endure sadness and loneliness.
Typical situations that contribute to disease development are those that require expression of aggressive or gentle and devoted feelings. Often, the same situation causes simultaneously conflicting feelings and experiences, such as contempt and tenderness, love and rejection. Typical for asthmatics is also intimacy with special expectations (e. g., asthma of wedding night).
It is also possible to trace the connection between respiratory function violation at asthmatics and significant change in their ability to give and take. For asthma strong tendency to non-return, retention, preservation is characterized, be it physical or psychological values. At severe allergics, there is also the tendency to identify themselves communicating with other people, as if be fused with them.
Psychological features of patients with bronchial asthma
A characteristic feature of asthmatics is that they experience and express more negative emotions than other people. They also observe lack of resistance to stress, infantilism, i. e. demonstration of childish behavior, tendency to block emotional experiences, low self-consciousness, the realization of their feelings, desires, and needs. Also, they are characterized by inadequate self-image, which is expressed in low self-esteem and high dependence on opinions of others.
Asthmatics frequently demonstrate increased sensitivity to odors, which does not physiologically explained. It should be noted that this hypersensitivity is, above all, directed to smells, somehow connected to dirt and untidiness, as well as unclean and inaccurate behavior. Asthmatics with increased susceptibility to odors are also very dependent on judgment and opinions of people around them.
Asthma psychotherapy is difficult enough and long-lasting and can be carried out only by a professional psychologist who specializes in this kind of issues. Therefore, if you decide to rid your life and other people from depending on your well-being, have patience, and you will succeed!
Posted by Dr. Himanshu Singh