Archive for the ‘Stress Illness Causes’ Category

Post-Traumatic Stress (4)

Friday, July 9th, 2010

…continued from previous post.

There are so many lessons from the story of Patrolman Evans.  I think about the many individuals who are first on the scene at traumatic events who have suffered in this way.  Only recently has there been some official recognition of these burdens and some change in workplace cultures that previously neglected the need for support and treatment.


Post-Traumatic Stress (3)

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

…continued from previous post.

Many years later, Homer Evans had this to say: “Still today the vision of that little boy haunts me. During my time in law enforcement I saw a lot of people die but that one incident made such a lasting impression on me. For years I had bad dreams recalling that little boy. I would wake from the dreams sobbing and in a cold sweat. I had mood swings that made it difficult for my wife and me. I tried for years to suppress the event in my work with the public, which meant the only place it could come out was at home. I thank God she stuck with me during those years.  In those days there was no counseling available. You dealt with your problems.  There would have been a stigma if anyone found out you were having issues.”


Post-Traumatic Stress (2)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

…continued from the previous post.

Evans arrived just after two other officers.  As they approached the duplex, Violet burst out of the front door, holding her son.  She screamed “take him” as she thrust the boy into Evans’ arms and then said “I shot the little bastard.”


Post-Traumatic Stress (1)

Monday, July 5th, 2010

When people learn what I do, it is not unusual for them to share a story from their past or present.  Patrolman Homer Evans (not his real name) agreed to share the story below in the hope that it might benefit others.


Screening Questionnaire for Hidden Stress

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

One of the most frequent requests I receive is for a way to screen for the presence of hidden stresses.  Most of those who inquire are interested in administering a questionnaire to patients/clients as they wait to see their clinician.  No suitably brief, scientifically validated questionnaire exists that covers the full range of hidden stresses but I have created a reasonable question set and added it to the Book Overview section of this site.


Empathy and Stress Illness (3)

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I had never heard of Mississippi writer Barry Hannah until he died two months ago at age 67.  The obituaries quoted many well-known authors who revered him and prominently mentioned his award-winning short story collection Airships (1978).  When my writer friend Peter also praised it I put in an order.


Blood Test for Stress Illness?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Bethesda, Maryland.  April 1.  The Center for Irreproducible Results at the National Institution of Health today announced a stunning breakthrough that is certain to benefit hundreds of millions of patients.  Dr. Freddie P. Ignobel reports that she has found a blood test that can reliably confirm when physical symptoms are caused by life stresses and not by a disease of an organ or a metabolic problem.


When Stress Causes Pain

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I don’t recall ever encountering a conference that included internists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, a gastroenterologist (myself) and a public relations expert all addressing the same clinical issue.  Yet this is what came together at UCLA this weekend to address physical symptoms caused by psychosocial stress.  Nearly 200 attended and it was remarkable to see the consensus that grew out of such disparate clinical experience.


Stress and Blurred Vision

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

For years I would teach medical residents about stress illness by telling the true story of a 16 year old girl who came to clinic with intermittent blurred vision (the full story is in my book).  I would ask them to pretend she was in the room and to try to diagnose the cause.  They would ask questions about her symptoms and “order” tests and I would give them the results.  Very few even got close to the answer though a few, to their credit, were able to look beyond physiology alone and figure out that her vision blurred when she was crying.  The crying was from severe depression brought on by regular physical abuse by her father.


Changing Your Life

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

A woman approached me before a lecture and said “I heard your talk a few years ago, went home afterward and told my husband I wanted a divorce.”  I was so surprised I couldn’t think of an intelligent response before she went on to say “…and as soon as it was final all the pain in my jaw went away and hasn’t come back so I wanted to thank you.”