Mental health conditions can profoundly change the sense of the physical condition of the body. In panic disorder, the majority of symptoms are physical: feeling faint, chest pain, heart palpitations and so on. Or consider eating disorders. For most people, hunger is aversive and satiety is pleasant, yet people with anorexia report how much better it feels to experience hunger rather than satiety. For them, satiety tends to arrive more rapidly, and normal fullness can cause discomfort, bloating, and even spontaneous vomiting. Bodily or ‘somatic’ symptoms are also commonly experienced in depression (eg, loss of appetite and sex drive); in anxiety (eg, gastrointestinal problems); and in post-traumatic stress disorder (eg, trembling and feeling nauseous).

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