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
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
"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
"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. …