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Running high fever? It could be because of stress

If you’ve been running high fever and don’t feel like going to office, it may not be any illness but just psychogenic fever. This fever is a stress-related psychosomatic condition that manifests itself in high body temperature.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 09, 2015 18:06 IST
Experts say that high body temperature is just one of the symptoms induced or exacerbated by stress.
Experts say that high body temperature is just one of the symptoms induced or exacerbated by stress. (Shutterstock)

If you’ve been running high fever and don’t feel like going to office, don’t ignore this piece of information. This fever may not be any illness but just psychogenic fever. It means this fever is a stress-related psychosomatic condition that manifests itself in high body temperature. It is caused by exposure to emotional events or to chronic stress, researchers said.

While this condition is known in the literature, only a few doctors in the world study it and treat patients with psychogenic fevers, said Dr Takakazu Oka from Kyushu University School of Medical Sciences, Japan, who specialises in psychosomatic medicine.

However, this condition is relatively widespread. Oka has seen a high number of patients, especially amongst Japanese students due to academic stress. Oka said due to many doctors not fully understanding how stress can affect body temperature, patients with psychogenic fever are being diagnosed with cause unknown for their disabling symptoms.

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The complaints from patients are of fever itself, along with the symptoms from high temperature, symptoms from stress, plus the symptoms from psychiatric diseases that the patient may suffer from. “High body temperature is just one of the symptoms induced or exacerbated by stress. Patients ask for the treatment of fever not just their temperature be normalised, but all symptoms to be treated,” Oka said.

Several treatment options are currently available, but, in general, they are similar to the treatments of other stress-related diseases and not specific to psychogenic fever. However, Oka is convinced that a breakthrough in treatment will occur in the near future, as more research is conducted.

Instead of using the traditional term “psychogenic fever”, Oka proposes to call this condition “functional hyperthermia”. The study was published in the journal Temperature.