Does the brain show its effect on our physical health, Interview with Tamara Greenberg, Psy.D., M.S
Last month when I was googling for some topics say doubts actually about physical health, I was wondered how our psychological health would show its effect on our body. Of course as an M.Pharm student we have learnt these things before, I wanted to know about this from the person who is continuously on this run. One such person is Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D., M.S.,
Actually for the first time I am sharing an interview (call it as answers to my doubts) these questions/doubts were really agitating me from many years and I have found the answers from her, actually from her book “When Someone You Love Has Chronic Illness” . Though my site don’t deal with this section my purpose of sharing this to you is just humane & caring. “The joy of sharing”. I wanted people to know “Whether the brain show its effect on our physical health?”
And this beautiful human with a pleasing smile is Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D., M.S., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco, CA, where she sees adults. She specializes in treating those with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, and those who are coping with medical illness, either as a patient or affected family member. You can find about her http://tamara-greenberg.com/
Actually, I had many questions to ask her, but most of them were answered from her book and these are few questions that I wanted to ask her in additional related to this topic.
So, this conversation is short & sweet, but sure it will be helpful….. :). I hope if someone has questions related to this topic, you can ask her and she is ready to share her experience.
Jyothi: Since my M.Pharm days I have a question, which is agitating me whenever I found someone with illness, that is What is a real illness? Having a problem (disease or disorder) or the feeling of having illness?
Tamara: The definition of a “real” illness is complicated. Western medicine relies on symptoms (what is reported by the patient) and signs (what can be objectively determined through labs, physical findings, etc.) Many people would say that illness is based on how they feel, what their subjective experience of their health is. For what it is worth, although objective findings are important, there are symptoms that cannot be easily quantified, such as pain. I think it is best to not try to tell people what they are experiencing in their bodies.
Jyothi: I found some people though with chronic illness live longer though they don’t follow all the diet plans, fitness regime etc. ((they just take the medicine), but people who follow all these health tips along with a great treatment they don’t survive ( recently this has happened in our family members). What might be the reason behind this? Does being less focused on the illness remains them positive & live longer?
Tamara: This is a great question. Honestly, it’s just sometimes luck. You are right that some people who do “everything right” still don’t survive and some people who do everything against medical advice get lucky. That being said, there are some psychological factors that can make it difficult to heal from some illnesses– or may be even be a factor in the development of some illnesses. We know that depression and anxiety, when chronic, can have powerful and negative effects on the immune system and cardiovascular functioning. Also, highly conflicted relationships–especially those in which there is a lot of anger and conflict and lack of support–can also effect physical health. Interestingly, it seems that we women may be more susceptible to the effects of relationship stress. The following blog posts explains this more:
Jyothi: This question is from my friend, does really the brain show its effect on physical health? of course you have answered this question in your book itself but what we wanted to know is what would be effect on people with chronic diseases like diabetes, lupus, cancer. Can they spend a good quality of life after these?
Tamara: This is hard to answer in a general way. Some diseases are more sensitive to psychological issues than others. I would say in a general sense that illness is usually a combination of biological factors, health behaviors and psychological coping.
Jyothi: When someone we love suffering with some chronic illness, most of them (mostly women in India) does not always reveal their actual state of illness, is it correct to do that? Does sharing show any effect (positive)?
Tamara: It’s hard to say. Although so much of the literature in illness emphasizes “social support,” some people find it much more stressful to reach out to others. In general, however, being too isolated is not thought to be helpful for health. Also, there can be cultural differences in terms of feeling ashamed about illness. Myself, I would never push someone to disclose an illness until I understood the meaning of not talking about it.
Jyothi: This is my last question, Does positive phrases really motive people with chronic illness? If so, what should be those phrases without irritating them?
I am asking you this because I have found some people gets irritated when we say “stay positive”, they usually say “be in my position and see”.
Tamara: In my experience of working with people with illness for almost 25 years, people who are sick often feel unseen, misunderstood, and not helped when people say “stay positive.” Of course, being too pessimistic for a long period of time may not be helpful (especially if that is combined with not following medical advice), it is important for people to be able to feel and express all feelings associated with an illness. Feeling afraid and sad and angry are completely normal. Based on the research, it seems like an ideal approach is to have a balance of cautious optimism, combined with knowing realistic risks.
Jyothi: Thankyou Tamara, this conversation with you is really invaluable to me and many would definitely find answers to their questions from your valuable book as I found.
Friends, if you would like to buy this book (note: this is not any affiliation, linked on my own interest)…..