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See detailInteroception, stress and physical symptoms in stress-associated diseases
Schulz, André UL; Schultchen, Dana; Vögele, Claus UL

in European Journal of Health Psychology (2020), 27(1), 132-153

The brain and peripheral bodily organs continuously exchange information. Exemplary, interoception refers to the processing and perception of ascending information from the body to the brain. Stress ... [more ▼]

The brain and peripheral bodily organs continuously exchange information. Exemplary, interoception refers to the processing and perception of ascending information from the body to the brain. Stress responses involve a neurobehavioral cascade, which includes the activation of peripheral organs via neural and endocrine pathways and can thus be seen as an example for descending information on the brain-body axis. Hence, the interaction of interoception and stress represents bi-directional communication on the brain-body axis. The main hypothesis underlying this review is that the dysregulation of brain-body communication represents an important mechanism for the generation of physical symptoms in stress-related disorders. The aims of this review are, therefore, (1.) to summarize current knowledge on acute stress effects on different stages of interoceptive signal processing, (2.) to discuss possible patterns of abnormal brainbody communication (i.e., alterations in interoception and physiological stress axes activation) in mental disorders and chronic physical conditions, and (3.) to consider possible approaches to modify interoception. Due to the regulatory feedback loops underlying brain-body communication, the modification of interoceptive processes (ascending signals) may, in turn, affect physiological stress axes activity (descending signals), and, ultimately, also physical symptoms. [less ▲]

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