Bob has been under a great deal of stress these days. Things haven't been going well on his job but they've been worse at home. He and his wife have been fighting more than usual and the kids have been acting up as a result.Bob had always prided himself on his good health. In four years on the job, he had only used one sick day.
Suddenly Bob came down with an illness that put him in bed for two weeks. Stress is the real cause of many medical problems and illnesses, including Bob's. A certain amount of stress is inevitable in life for optimal functioning, but too much pressure can weaken the body's natural defenses against disease or breakdown. If a person is having trouble in one area of life - employment, for example - the stress may be manageable, but if more problems arise in other areas of life, a medical problem may become inevitable.
Bob's illness is real. Because it is caused by emotional factors does not mean that he is faking or malingering. He became sick because the tremendous personal and professional stress he was under made him vulnerable to illness. Weakened by emotional problems, his body's resources were unable to fight off the invasion of an infectious disease. Donald D. Fisher, M.D,, author of I Know You Hurt But There's Nothing To Bandage (Touchstone Press, 1978), has been a family physician for twenty years and has treated thousands of patients. He believes that most of his patients have incurred their illnesses by being subjected to too much stress.
Dr. Fisher estimates that sixty to eighty percent of his patients have no identifiable physiological cause for their physical pain or complaints. Their pain is real, not "just in their heads;" there may even be some physiological damage or change; but the cause is emotionaland not physical. Stress has either caused the medical problems his patients bring to him or made them worse.
But many physicians are reluctant to label a patient's complaint as emotional. We need to realize that our emotions can influence our physical health. Simply speaking - positive emotions equates good health.
# # # # #