Emotions Play Major Role in Medical Problems

By Kilpatrick, Carol | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 26, 1990 | Go to article overview

Emotions Play Major Role in Medical Problems


Kilpatrick, Carol, THE JOURNAL RECORD


A sick employee makes a big difference in the productivity in the work place, said Dr. Murali Krishna, medical director of the St. Anthony Mental Health Center. If people are taught preventative techniques, they often can avoid being sick by dealing with their problems.

Of all general medical problems, 60 percent to 70 percent have an emotional origin or are influenced by emotions, said Krishna.

"The distinction between mind and body is becoming more blurry as science advances," he said. "In the past, we were repairing humans with inadequate tools. This is a great time to help people. We have better equipment and more knowledge."

The immune system is influenced by emotions. Hope, faith, trust, laughter, meditation and relaxation have a tremendous positive impact on the body.

In the 1970s and 1980s, improvements in mental health progressed, he said. He expects it to be one of the top growth areas into the 21st century.

The mind, he said, has enormous influence on the health of the body. Taking care of the mind and emotions can affect a positive change in the body.

In the past few years, there has been an explosion of new knowledge in the biological treatment of mental health problems, he said. Anti-depressants with fewer side effects decrease the amount of time required to revive from severe depression.

Illnesses like panic disorder are not imaginary, but are caused when an area of the brain is more sensitive to stimulus, he said. Now there is an increasing ability to treat it.

There is a biological predisposition to some disorders, said Krishna. In combination with the stresses of life, other illnesses or dysfunctional relationships could uncover the disorder. Adjustment disorders can be brought on by illness, loss, change in position in life or excessive stress.

"We are more aware of long-term physiological changes in the brain as a result of acute trauma that can be a physical event, like an earthquake or overwhelming stress," he said. "Chemical changes in the brain can be detected 30 to 40 years later."

Advances in biology and psychology result in better treatment. Treatment is based on biological, psychological and spiritual evaluations.

"Every organ in the body, including hair and fingernails, are influenced by stress," he said. "We have begun to understand that what and how we think and perceive events and stress has a tremendous influence on resulting feelings, which in turn affect the body.

"For example, if someone perceives a stressful event as totally hopeless, the mind is left with feelings of anxiety and despair, which negatively influence the immune system.

"If we look at options to determine the best way to handle the situation, we have a hopeful reservoir of energy and can cope with the situation in a more positive way.

"Humans are never without stress," he said. "If you recognize how you respond to stress, then you can learn techniques to help keep stress under control.

A patient's upbringing plays a major role in stress coping skills, he said. …

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