slideshow widget

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fear and depression may cause ill health

Surely it makes sense that if a perosn is scared to death, or if he is depressed, his immune system will be negatively effected.  We see this many times in the hospital setting, where an elderly person who is infested with disease is silent, which is a sign of depression.

In such a case, hopefully the physician is also trying to relieve the person's depression in order to facilitate healing.  Another option would be faith healing, where a priest comes in to see the patient to provide spiritual healing, which has been proven to promote happiness.  And this goes along with my theory that hope and faith in and of itself can facilitate healing.

On the other hand, as noted, fear and depression may make a person worse.  This was a topic that historian Fielding Hudson Garrison discussed in his 1922 history of medicine:

In surveying these different superstitions, one point becomes of especial moment. It is highly improbable that any of the remedies mentioned actually cured disease, but there is abundant evidence of the most trustworthy kind that there have been sick people who got well with the aid of nothing else. How did they get well? Short of accepting the existence of supernatural forces, we can only fall back upon such vague explanations as "the healing power of nature," the tendency of nature to throw off the materies morbi or to bring unstable chemical states to equilibrium, the latter being the most plausible. But, in many cases of a nervous nature or in neurotic individuals, there is indubitable evidence of the effect of the mind upon the body, and in such cases it is possible that a sensory impression may so influence the vasomotor centers or the internal secretions of the ductless glands as to bring about definite chemical changes in the blood, glands, or other tissues, which, in some cases, might constitute a "cure." We know that the reverse is possible, for example, in such occurrences as the whitening of the hair from intense grief or fear, or the production of convulsions in a suckling infant whose mother has been exposed to anger, fright, or other violent emotions before nursing it. As Loeb strongly puts it, "Since Pawlow and his pupils have succeeded in causing the secretion of saliva in the dog by means of optic and acoustic signals, it no longer seems strange to us that what the philosopher terms an 'idea' is a process which can cause chemical changes in the body."1 Billings compares the sensation obtained by placing the hand on a cold object in a dark room with the way in which the blood "runs cold" when one realizes that this object is a corpse.2 Crile's important studies of surgical shock show the strong analogy existing between the phenomena produced by shock, the extreme passion of fear, and the symptom-complex of Graves' disease, particularly in regard to the pouring out of the thyroid secretions and the destruction of the Purkinje cells in the brain. W. B. Cannon shows that in fear, rage, or anger, the emotions which prepare the animal for fight or flight, the digestive and sexual functions are immediately inhibited, the adrenal secretion is rapidly poured into the blood, mobilizing sugar from the hepatic glycogen up to the point of glycosuria, counteracting the effects of muscular fatigue, and hastening the coagulation time of the blood, thus giving the organism wonderful capacity for offence, defence, flight, and repair of injured tissues. A man in a fighting or frightened mood is a ductless gland phenomenon. The pathological effect of ideas upon the sacral autonomic is seen in the
A little knowledge from our past.

No comments: