Monday, April 16, 2012

Somatization disorder and dreaming

In a reported case, a woman had her 10 year old son hospitalized for fever, inability to speak, and inabilty to move any muscles. After 2 weeks of hospitalization and testing doctors decided to do spinal and brain surgery to explore options for diagnosis and treatment. The night before the surgery the mother dreamt that her son spoke to her and said that he was "faking" the illness. Upon waking she spoke to him and he replied that he was in fact "faking" the illness. Psychiatric treatment was then administered to the young boy. How could the mother's dream indicate the diagnosis, and, and how could this affect somatization?

23 comments:

  1. I think the continuity hypothesis would apply here. The boy had been tested for everything physical for two weeks, leaving only radical options (surgeries). The mother was likely frightened, therefore engaging in meaningful problem-solving with dream images. This is likely where her image of the diagnosis came from, and is supported by the fact that her son spoke to her as soon as she intimated that he was "faking." This would affect somatization in that the behaviour was no longer positively reinforced by the mother, and the son's cognitions appear to be changing due to his beginning to speak. With this momentum established, psyciatric intervention would then be able to affect somatization.

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  2. I agree with Chris that the mother was at her wits end and did not want anything drastic to happen to her son so she was problem solving all day and night to hopefully figure out for herself what was wrong with her child.
    But I also think it could be that this could be linked to sending messages through dreams like we discussed in some of the seminars with Carlyle.
    Maybe the son wanted the mother to figure it out and was constantly thinking about her and the knowledge he wished she had about what he was doing that one night it made it to her dream.
    The could be how she figured out her sons diagnosis and it affect the somatization.

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  3. I agree with Chris and the continuity hypothesis. The mother, as much if not more than the doctors, wanted to find out what was wrong with her son. With the amount of tests that had been done she probably believed that the only reasonable explanation was that he was faking it.
    By talking to her son about it, and how serious it was he probably felt he had no choice but to admit it. As well kids often think that mom's know all, so if she had told him she knew he was faking it, it may have believed it and came clean.

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  4. I agree on the continuity hypothesis but I believe it to be in a different manner. Somatization is psychological distress in the form of physical or psychological manifestations. A child as young as 10 usually doesn't have much socialization outside of school and activities so most of their time is spent with the parent. If the child and mother were experiencing the same distress in their lives, it would be reasonable to say that the mother would be dreaming of that particular issue, whatever it may be, and the accompanying difficulties with her son. There is also shared dream experiences that happen so the son could have been dreaming of themes relating to faking and the mother could have picked up on this due to the amount of time parent and child spend together.

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  5. As we learned through the paranormal dream presentations, most paranormal dreams are recalled due to their sensitive topic. Especially dream sharing, which has been documented to occur between couples, especially with INTENSE thoughts and with strong emotional ties. I believe that some mother and child relationships are even closer, especially at a young age, then intimate relationships. In this situation, in which the mother was probably very scared for her son, and therefore was feeling intense thoughts and strong emotions, it seems reasonable. This could be why she experienced this dream. Her son could have needed help (going through something) in other aspects of his life and this was his call for help. As soon as the mother figured out he was ‘faking’ the illness, he knew help was on its way, and therefore the symptoms (somatization) stopped.

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  6. I agree with the postings that discuss the continuity hypothesis. I think it does make sense that the mother would have very vivid dreams about the boys health concerns and since she had been dealing with it for 2 weeks, I imagine it would weigh heavily on her mind. The prospect of such a serious surgery would likely prompt the mom to spend even more time thinking about his health and what could be causing it. Maybe the fear of surgery was enough to prompt the boy to admit to faking it once the mom's dream pushed her to confront him. I also think it's possible that the boy was giving subtle hints to the mom, but the mom may have been so overwhelmed in waking life that she wasn't picking up on the subtleties. If dreams help us to consolidate and process information and aid us in problem solving, then perhaps it was only during sleep that the mom was able to process and pick up those clues. I agree with Nicolle that parents and children have a very strong connection and if couples have the ability to share dreams and pass that kind of info on during the sleep state, it seems possible to me that a mother and child could do the same. Maybe the boy was reaching out to his mom for help and she was able to perceive it when the rest of her brain was more calm.

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  7. I do think the continuity hypothesis plays an important role in this mothers dream. Of course she had been thinking about what could have been wrong with her son for the two weeks leading up to the surgery. However I think her dream was actually related more too paranormal dreaming. This story reminded me of the second seminar we had with Carlyle. He told us about how it is possible to send messages to other individuals when they are in REM sleep. This usually involves a sender who is continuously sending the message throughout the evening and the receivers pick it up and dream about it. In this case, the sender is her son. To me, this illness is a cry for attention and help. The boy probably wanted the mother to find out that he was faking on her own and therefore could have been, without really knowing, sending her this message. Also, because the mother and son are related and have a closer relationship, it was easier for the mother to pick up on this message. When the mother confronted him about faking the illness he knew he could now be honest because she had figured it out. Also, I think the fact that his surgery was that day perhaps pushed the boy the open up. I think the boy will now be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness such as depression rather then something physiological.

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  8. I agree with the comments that have been discussed before. Every possible option other than surgery had been examined for son. Nothing had been discovered and obviously the mother was worried day in and day out trying to figure out what was going on with her son. During her dreams as well, she would be undergoing intense problem solving trying to figure out things on her own before the need for surgery. Again, with the 'heads up' dreaming that was discussed in class, her son could have actually been trying to send her messages throughout the night and when things became more intense (next step was surgery) the mother and son actually connected through the night during dreaming and she realized that her son was faking his physical illness.

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  9. As we have learned throughout this course, the mothers dream could've indicated the illness through a dream sharing experience. I agree that the boy obviously had other psychological issues, and he may not have been getting the help/attention that he needed. As a result, the hospitalization was a cry for help. Taking into consideration the close emotional bond that typically occurs between mother and child, I believe that the boy knew he didn't need/want surgery, and he was able to somehow send his mother messages while she was dreaming telling her that he was faking the illness. Once the mother confronted her son, he was probably relieved that someone clued into what was going on, and he might have finally felt like he could admit to his issues.

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  10. I think that dream incubation would explain this phenomenon. Incubation is where someone else dreams for you to solve a particular problem. Incubation also taps into the sleeping mind when someone becomes awake. We learned that the Continuity Hypothesis explains that dreaming helps people to problem-solve their waking day issues. The mother, sub-consciously could have used dream incubation to solve the problem of why her son was really sick. Using incubation and her deep connection with her son, she was able to realize that her son was possibly faking the illness.

    Tara-Lee Upshall

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  11. The mothers dream indicated the diagnosis because of continuity hypothesis. Her son is in the hospital and the doctors cannot figure out what it wrong with him. This is a problem that is happening in her waking day life and therefore she is dreaming about it at night. When we dream we are problem solving which would explain why her dream helped diagnose her son. I also agree that dream incubation had a role in this diagnosis. I think that the boy was hoping someone would be able to figure out what was wrong with him and was therefore trying to send the message to his mother. Since he was trying to send a message to his mother and the mother was trying very hard to figure out what was wrong with her son the diagnosis then turned up in the mother’s dreams. Once he knew he was going to get help the “symptoms” stopped.

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  12. I also believe that the continuity hypothesis can explain why the boy’s mother would dream about the boy’s illness. She was clearly very concerned about her son’s health, and this theme could definitely have showed up in her dream since it is something that was weighing heavily on her mind. I also think that paranormal dreaming could play a larger role in this situation. The boy could have been sending messages to his mother, especially if he was frightened about undergoing surgery. When his mother approached him, asking if he was faking, it seems that he felt that he could finally speak and open up to her. He was definitely crying out for help. Maybe he believed himself that he really had these symptoms and for him, they became real. The mind can definitely convince the body to feel a certain way. It could have been sort of a wake-up call when his mother approached him about faking.

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  13. I agree with previous comments, that due to the amount of tests that the boy had done that came back negative caused the continuity hypothesis to have an effect. Also dreams can be used as a way to problem solve and seeing that the test continuously came back negative probably cause the mom anxiety and fear resulting in her finding the solution in her dreams. Also, a mother usually can sense when something is or is not wrong with her child which could have been a part of the mom finding out her son was faking it. Next, I believe that the son may have forgot he was faking it initially because when we let our mind believe something it takes over our body, so the mother confronting the boy may have snapped his mind back to realizing he was faking it in the first place. Thus this would reduce the symptoms .

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  14. I agree with previous comments, the continuity hypothesis probably had an effect due to the amount of tests that were done on the boy. Also, I believe a mother can sense when there is something truly wrong with their child and when they are acting. Therefore I believe the mom probably suspected something was up after all the tests were coming back negative. Due to her waking life fears and anxieties the idea of the boy faking it appeared in her dream as the only way to solve the problem that actually didn't exist.

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  15. As with what has already been noted, I believe that the Continuity Hypothesis could play a role in the mother discovering that her son was “faking” his illness. I believe that it makes perfect sense that the mother would be problem-solving during both waking and dreaming states, trying to come with a solution to the mystery behind her child’s illness. Since the mother was problem-solving during the waking day hours, she therefore transmitted that activity into her dreams, which led her to continue problem-solving during sleeping-states. The mother probably also used a form of paranormal dreaming, or heads-up dreams. This way she was able to predict what was happening, and was informed with how to handle the situation (asking her son straight up if he was faking the illness).

    However, based on the information that is provided, critically thinking, I don’t necessarily believe that the doctors could have missed the small fact that the son was faking the illness for 2 weeks straight. Something else had to have been happening. I find it difficult to believe that a 10 year old boy can disguise an illness that well, and “fake” those types of symptoms, let-alone a fevered temperature. As I have learned from characteristics of somatization in children; is that they usually complain of their physical symptoms (this would require them to have the ability to talk, which this boy didn’t), and usually complain in order to miss school or avoid a situation in which they feel uncomfortable. I believe that psychiatric treatment was a good idea for this boy because there is evidence of some deeper-routed issue that needs to be addressed. Maybe his mother has a new boyfriend and he didn’t like the idea that he wasn’t receiving as much attention from his mom?

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  16. The mother's dream indicating diagnosis could have been her sleeping mind problem solving at the last moment. It may also have been a deeper connection with her son that aided her realization that his illness was being 'faked', perhaps a form of paranormal dreaming. Either way, it is likely that her diagnosis affected his somatization by helping her to approach him in a manner that he willingly responded to when other approaches were not working. It may be that until she offered up this previously unmentioned reason for his symptoms, he himself was not aware that he was 'faking' the illness. This realization would then have aided this instance of somatization by allowing the young boy to seek psychological help.

    - Carey-Ann Bette

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  17. Maighan MackenzieApril 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I agree with the comments posted above. I believe the continuity hypothesis would help to explain what happened in the mother's dream. She was probably really anxious for her son to be sick that long and not have any answers as to why he was sick. In her dream she was problem solving trying to figure out what was wrong with her son before he had to go for surgery. I also believe that the son was probably anxious about the surgery as well, so they probably had a dream sharing moment, in which his waking day problems were also reflected in his mother's dream. Her confronting her son about the illness could have affected the somatization because the boy was probably feeling nervous and anxious about the surgery but was probably too embarrassed to say anything after all the hospitalization that he went through, so when he was confronted about faking it, he was relieved and had a chance to tell the truth.

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  18. I defiantly think the continuity hypothesis applies here. The mothers waking day concerns and conflicts were brought back into awareness by her dreaming mind. Her high concern and stress, as well as the high emotional relationship with the issue would probably consume her. As the continuity hypothesis would predict, this means that it would most likely be reflected in dream imagery. This allowed for active problem solving and abstract thinking to occur. I think the solution required this abstract thinking, because in waking day the idea that her son was faking his illness would seem highly unlikely, if not absurd to the mother. Her dream interpretation allowed her to take waking day action and approach her son.
    Grace Williamson

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  19. I agree with previous posts and the Continuity Hypothesis' role in this scenario. The mother obviously had both conscious and subconscious thoughts regarding her son's health, and when she would be dealing with doctors and medical tests for him during the day, her dreaming mind would attempt to resolve these intuitions, thoughts and concerns while she is sleeping. As the dreaming mind plays an integral role in discovering insights about waking day events, the mother's dream was a realization to her about her son's "illness". This dream would also affect somatization as it would indicate a need for more psychological instead of medical interventions for the boys illness and symptoms.

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  20. Dreaming helps problem-solve. The increased severity of the situation probably induced more problem-solving that helped the mother figure out the problem. Her son will probably stop exhibiting physical symptoms now that the true cause was found and he got everyone's attention. It is possible that he started showing physical symptoms due to a lack of inattention from his mother about his psychological distress.

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  21. The mother had a pre cognitive dream. The pre cognitive dream saved expensive and invasive tests being performed. Perhaps the son "let her in" in a paranormal sense at the same time because the son did not want these extensive tests done. Obviously, faking such a severe illness requires psychiatric treatment, which affects somatatization

    Melissa Van Grootel

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  22. The dream that the mother had was called a pre cognitive dream; dreaming of an event of situation prior to that event taking place or happening. Because the mother had this dream about her son, this allowed for further psychological testing to be done and therefore help the somatization that the boy was experiencing. If the mother did not have thid dream, doctors may have never been able to figure out what the issue was and would not have known how to treat this young boy.

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  23. I agree with everyone else that the mother’s dream of her son’s diagnosis was part of the continuity theory and problem solving. With the doctor’s unable to find a reason for the boy’s problems, and with invasive surgery looming, the mother had probably spent a lot of time thinking and trying to understand what was wrong with her son. These issues in her mind during her waking life would then be reflected in her dreams, where her mind would still be trying to find an explanation. As the problem solving process continued in her dreams, the idea came up that perhaps her son was faking the illness, which could explain why no physical problems could yet be found.

    Yet at the same time, its interesting to consider this dream being an example of a precognitive dream (aka a paranormal dream), where the mother correctly dreamt into the future of what the diagnosis for her son was. When precognitive dreams occur, the target in the dream is usually something meaningful to the dreamer, which in this case would have been the son and his health problems. As the mother dreamt into the future that her son was faking his illness, she was then able to apply in the present what she had learned from the dream to solve her son’s health problem.

    In terms of how the dream had an affect on the boy’s somatization, it is quite clear that while the boy had been unable to speak upon hospitalization, he was able to talk once his mother had revealed to him that she had discovered that he was “faking” his problems. Thus, discovering and revealing the “faking” to the “faker” already began the process of reducing the boy’s somatization. The affect the dream had on the boy’s somatization was then furthered as the dream presented a diagnosis the doctors could use, and thus knowing what they were now dealing with, could apply the necessary treatment (such as psychiatric intervention) to further reduce the somatization.

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