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  • Writer's pictureSudha

What Really Makes You Sick?

Western medicine, for decades, has treated the body to be a separate entity from the mind. It was assumed that diseases arise only from factors that could be explained using molecular, cellular and infectious medicine. Now evidence is increasingly pointing to an additional cause of many "physical" diseases, that is, factors that arise from our mind. This new understanding of origin of diseases is informed by concepts that are now covered by the term "Psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology" which tries to understand how our mind, brain, body, endocrine system (hormones) and immune system are all interconnected.

The role of stress is now widely accepted in Western Medicine, although it is yet to make its way into mainstream medical practice. This article in Nature published in 2019 is just one example that shows that the role of stress in disease is no longer controversial, it is a verifiable fact.

Mental distress affects the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the hormonal system and the immune system, and these are all interconnected. Mental distress of a severe or prolonged (or both) nature can lead to all kinds of diseases, most that the medical textbooks do not even consider to be related to mental stress.

Dr. Gabor Maté has contributed immensely to our understanding of how stress and trauma contribute to a wide range of diseases, and has been a long time advocate for a change in the modern medical approach where mind and body are not considered as a whole. If you are seeking to understand how stressful life events, continued stressful conditions of daily life and childhood trauma can contribute to disease, then you must start with the works of Dr. Gabor Maté.

If you are not familiar with his work, you will find these videos an interesting introduction to these concepts. If you wish to dig deeper, do read his book, "When the Body Says No - The Cost of Hidden Stress".

Suggested Reading:

1. Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span, David Furman et al.

2. When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress By Gabor Maté · 2011


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