The concept of psychosomatic disorders, as defined by modern medicine, was difficult to be perceived by the ancient Greek physicians. Two main reasons contributed to this. One was that physicians in Greek antiquity had formed the idea that the mental illnesses that were recognized at that time, namely mania, melancholy, frenzy, caros, lethargy, apoplexy, but even epilepsy, was the result of a disturbance of the essential elements of the body, the balance of them contributed to the preservation of health. Thus, depending on the school of medical thought of each physician in antiquity, mental and corporal illnesses were the result of various disorders such as the dyscrasia of humors for the physicians of the Dogmatic school that followed the Hippocratic principles or the disorder of the qualitative characteristics of the humor and the pneuma (air), as the physicians of the Pneumatic School considered, but also of the stenosis or the expansion of the pores as the physicians of the Methodic school thought. Although there was the perception that the diseases were the result of various combinations of the previous theories, as concluded by the physicians who constituted the Eclectic school. The second reason was that ancient physicians could not perceive the autonomy of man's psychic world as an element of human nature in which emotional distress and irrational mental processing of stimuli from the social, cultural and natural environment of the individual would be aggravating to the challenge of mental imbalance. Nevertheless, many physicians such as physicians who wrote various work of Corpus Hippocraticum, Soranus of Ephesus (1st - 2nd c. AD) Galen (1st - 2nd c. AD), Aretaeus of Cappadocia (1st - 2nd or 4th c. AD) and Caelius Aurelianus (5th c. AD) did not forget to describe in their works psychosomatic disorders as they are defined by modern medicine. In their works there are the observations about intense sweating, tremor, eating disorders, hysteria and even death as a result of an intense and long psychological unrest. These corporal symptoms, although were onset due to a psychological unequilibrium they could not been listed by the ancient Greek physicians in any of the mental diseases as they were defined in antiquity. The psychological disturbance which could provoke the above corporal disorders arose by various phobias, shame, sorrow, anger, envy, excessive drinks and food, excessive sexual desire, passion for gambling and anxiety of everyday life.

Key words: Psychosomatic disorders, ancient Greek medicine, Galen, Corpus Hippocraticum.

K. Laios, M.-I. Kontaxaki, K. Markatos, E. Lagiou, M. Karamanou, G. Androutsos (page 130)

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