Valérie Boucherat-Hue : about the adolescence-crisis and “ versatile ” allergic attacks

The view, commonly held by psycho-somaticians, that adolescence with its body-changes is one of the phases least exposed to somatic disorders in the development of the individual, is far from being shared by psychoanalysts.
It is based on an economically unequal relationship between psychological problems and somatic disorders and will be submitted to clinical investigation conducted on allergy-prone asthmatic young adults and older adolescents.
Asthma attacks experienced during adolescence should not only to be considered in relation to the psychosomatic and structural nature of the individual, which conditions the ways in which they appear, but also, as can be seen in this study, in relation to a psychodynamic form of interpretation, for in many clinical cases they seem to constitute an incentive rather than an obstacle to maturation.
One can thus distinguish the “ regressive ” allergic attack aimed at avoiding an incoming puberty conflict situation; the “ constructive ” allergic attack caused by the build-up of fantasy activity that, once released, produces a strongly symbolically-marked stimulus; and the “ disruptive ” allergic attack that results from a psychosomatic disorder-like impulse-discharge.
The object of this paper is to show that whatever the age at which illness strikes, the extent of the initial disorder, or the worsening of the condition brought about by an asthma attack in the adolescence, none of these factors necessarily determine the adult’s somatic and psychological future life.