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Link Between Psychological Wellness and Autoimmune

8 years 2 months ago #54109 by VanessaG0214
Was wondering how everyone felt about the below:

I don't know about anyone else, but stress is my #1 enemy. I have a really hard time managing stress. I do also have low self esteem and anxiety. Should I pursue these issues further?

“Many researchers are now focusing on ‘psychogenetic’ components of autoimmune disorders, and understanding the psychosomatic origin and nature in these diseases,” said Gage. “The treatment strategies in Amazonian medicine invariably focus on the patient’s interrelated psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, and often target the intersecting points of these layers.”

In his 2003 book on the link between stress and sickness, When The Body Says No, the Canadian physician Dr. Gabor Maté writes that in nearly every autoimmune patient he has worked with, “underlying emotional repression was an ever-present factor.”

Indeed, a growing body of research has found that stress, childhood trauma, anxiety and other psychosocial factors can play a role in the development of autoimmunity. One study found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis often report having experienced emotional neglect and abuse in childhood, while another found that MS patients exhibit “insecurity that drives their need to seek greater love.” Similarly, lupus patients frequently report histories of childhood emotional deprivation.

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8 years 2 months ago #54113 by Margaret k
Sorry Vanessa but I am a retired psychologist and though I can see that many illnesses have a psychosomatic element due to anxiety and stress I don't buy childhood deprivation/ emotional stress as a main cause of ITP or other auto immune conditions. Many illnesses not just auto immune ones are a combination of genetic disposition and environmental factors and it is very difficult to separate out causation. Just remember to focus on the things you do well and the people who make you feel good about yourself ; accept that no one can be perfect and that 'good enough ' is quite sufficient for getting on adequately in most areas of life. Positive psychology would say that doing things regularly with and for others ,giving and receiving praise are the best ways to achieve fulfilment . Be a volunteer, join a club, sing in a choir, go to an exercise class , make a garden, . There is real evidence to show that those who connect most with others live longer, more contented lives.
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  • Sandi
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  • Sandi Forum Moderator Diagnosed in 1998, currently in remission. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2006. Last Count - 344k - 6-9-18
8 years 2 months ago #54116 by Sandi
I absolutely believe that stress plays a factor in the development of autoimmune disorders, but I don't necessarily believe in the childhood connection. I have both ITP and Lupus and although my childhood wasn't completely normal, I never really felt it was traumatic or that I was deprived of love. Autoimmune problems can come from a combination or cascade of events having to do with predispositions, environmental toxins and stress.

This is my latest stress story and how it can affect the body. About six weeks ago, I had spinal surgery. Shortly afterwards, my hair started to break and fall out. Early last week, my sister died suddenly and I began to lose hair even faster. I finally went to get it cut today to try and cover the empty spots. It's freaking me out. Having Lupus, I know that hair loss can be a symptom of a flare, but others can also experience hair loss from stress as well. I didn't feel emotionally stressed before and after the surgery, but apparently my body did.

Chronic and long-term stress can kill; it taxes the body in many ways.

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  • mrsb04
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  • ITP since 2014. Retired nurse. My belief is empower patients to be involved as much as possible in their care. Read, read, read & ALWAYS question medics about the evidence base they use.
8 years 2 months ago #54118 by mrsb04
My husband died suddenly 5 years ago. A very stressful time for me. I lost lots of weight to the point of malnutrition.

Recovered from that after about a year. I was also diagnosed with PTSD and had treatment for that.

A couple of years ago work was extremely stressful for many reasons, staffing crisis , poor senior management, cut backs etc. I became run down and had horrific sinusitis.

6 weeks after that covered in bruises and in hospital with a platelet count of 10.

Every single medical professional I've spoken to has suggested the stress had affected my immune system

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8 years 2 months ago #54162 by poseymint
I agree with Sandi and everyone's response that if an individual's ITP was caused by stress it would be present day stress.

If the childhood experience was so stressful, why would the immune system wait until the person is 55 years old (in my case) to begin attacking platelets?? That theory would make more sense in cases of childhood ITP. But even in childhood ITP I would lean more toward vaccine or virus being the cause.

I know from taking prednisone- the stress hormone, the damage that those hormones can do. I lose at least a third of my hair when I'm on it, plus a myriad of other problems.

So sorry to hear of the loss of your sister, Sandi. That sounds like a terrible shock and so sad. Take care- God bless you.

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8 years 2 months ago #54166 by meredithjane
Replied by meredithjane on topic Link Between Psychological Wellness and Autoimmune
Have been reading a lot lately about Cancer remission. This book was lent to me & I recommend it.
('Radical Remission - Surviving cancer against all odds' by Kelly A. Turner, Ph.D.)

The thing I've come to appreciate is that we need to have a physical, emotional & spiritual balance. Also, stress weakens the immune system.

Vanessa, definitely pursue this & get some help with stress management & negative emotions release.

'not that we should never feel fear, anger, grief, stress, etc., but rather that we should try not to hold on to any particular emotion - be it positive or negative - for too long. Emotions should flow through the body . . We are all bound to feel sad, fearful, or angry at various points in our lives, and often these emotions are very appropriate given the situation. . . we shouldn't bury these feelings inside, because doing so can have a negative impact on the physical body, especially the immune system.' (page 162)


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3 years 1 month ago - 3 years 1 month ago #71227 by Vicky14

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3 years 1 month ago #71248 by JJ
Everyone has stresses in their life so the question is why do some get disease and others don't. Who is to say it's the stress triggered the autoimmune response and not something else. It's not at all scientific.
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