Lots of research supports the benefits of exercise to make us less vulnerable to anxiety and depression. In fact, we know that exercise is as effective in the treatment of depression as the SSRI drugs. Why does this matter to our health and wellness? Mental illness is a state of ongoing stress reactivity. We experience it in our depressed or anxious mood, but the stress hormones continuously released are corrosive to the healthy function of our physiological systems in ways we don’t directly experience — until they show up in […]
It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.
We have no shortage of triggers for our fears these days. It’s too easy for our amygdalas – those almond-shaped structures in the primitive part of our brains that prime us to react way before our conscious logical mind can think about it – to remain in a state of fearful vigilance that is highly corrosive to our health and well-being.
How do we interrupt the reactive fear response? We’ve all experienced that the more we try to suppress […]
Since I’ve been studying the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment technique called Somatic Experiencing I’ve learned to listen really intently to people’s symptoms. It is not uncommon for people to come complaining of, for example, heart burn. That term carries a lot of weight – some of it earned and some of what we might call baggage.
The weight comes from the association of the sensation that stomach acid produces when it refluxes back up and out of the stomach and into the esophagus. This sensation often is burning in quality and appears […]
The studies on Adverse Childhood Events (ACES studies) have uncovered the deeply damaging effects of early life trauma on our health decades later. The strength of the epidemiological evidence is staggering. We know things now that should drive public policy, public health, education, law enforcement, social service and legal initiatives to the front of the line if we care about our future.
And it should drive the medical community to begin to grasp its responsibilities in early identification, intervention, prevention and treatment of childhood trauma.
One of the more frustrating aspect of working in […]
Is there an epidemic of anxiety? In our practice we see people with many body symptoms. They come to us primarily for help with their fatigue, mind fog, bloating, muscle or joint pains or perhaps their thyroid – often when the blood tests indicate that their Synthroid is at a good dosage but their symptoms are not improved. In the health history form that all new patients complete before they are seen for the first time we ask many questions about many aspects of their health. This not only gives us a […]
I find myself exploring people’s minds for what’s going on in their body. And this is what I’ve found: The mind, particularly the part of the mind that holds our secrets, can torture us, body and soul.
I see a lot of people who have chronic back pain, fatigue, diarrhea, migraines, arthritis, and insomnia. They’ve been to their primary care physician, a specialist, a chiropractor, a psychiatrist and a physical therapist. They’ve had x-rays, scans, blood and urine tests. They’ve been on medication or supplements and may have been in therapy. They’ve changed their diets and taken meditation classes. And still […]
40 years ago last month, I started my internship in Pediatrics. Since then I’ve had a convoluted professional (and personal) path, but I observe a theme in that path – my attraction to families dealing with chronic illness and disabilities. My father was a physician who taught me that medicine is more art than science and the core of the art is respectful, caring talk. An observer of my career trajectory might see it as a search for the meaning and effective manifestations of his belief. I’d like to think they wouldn’t be mistaken.
One of my best childhood friends had […]
I have been studying trauma and its effects on our health. There is troubling and compelling evidence that adverse experiences—especially in childhood—hurt us in the long run in every way imaginable.
I see more women in my practice than men by about a ratio of about 2 to 1. I see illnesses that are complex and multi-system in nature. For example, many of my patients have both headaches and digestive problems that don’t get better with medication. I see patients who don’t sleep well and have disabling fatigue. I see people who gain weight and can’t get it off. […]
I’ve been writing in this column about trapped fight-or- flight responses as the origin of post-traumatic stress disorder. The theory is that the primitive part of the brain that controls our nervous system’s response to threat needs to come to completion any time it is startled into action. The body wants to fight or flee and if it cannot, the energy of those powerful impulses are stuck. Imagine your accelerator and brake both on […]