Disorders of arousal and the relaxation response: speculations on the nature and treatment of stress-related diseases

Author: Everly GS Jr, Benson H.
Conference/Journal: Int J Psychosom.
Date published: 1989
Other: Volume ID: 36 , Issue ID: 1-4 , Pages: 15-21 , Word Count: 152

The classification of diseases represents an important, yet often enigmatic, process. This is especially true in the case of stress-related diseases. Until the 1980s, stress-related diseases were categorized on the basis of the target organ system affected. A merger of 20 years of clinical data with research and theoretical formulations from the neurosciences gave us the opportunity to reformulate, or at least add a fresh perspective to, the understanding of the nature and treatment of stress-related diseases. Based upon over two decades of research and clinical trials, one such reformulation is presented here. It is contended that many psychiatric and somatic stress-related diseases are but manifest variations on a theme of limbicogenic neurological hypersensitivity and resultant pathogenic arousal. The resultant stress-related diseases are, therefore, viewed as \"disorders of arousal.\" From the reformulation offered herein emerges a neurologically-based rationale for the clinical use of the \"relaxation response\" in the treatment of stress-related diseases. PMID: 2689371