A Little Bit is Not Enough – Claim Full Health

The good news is, I just ate 3 chocolate chip cookies.  You already know the bad news.  Has nothing to do with my post.  I’m just sharing it for the sake of your own

Schadenfreude 🙂

…Onward.  Question:

Does emotional disease get worse even while on medication therapy?  Sometimes.  It does so more often when the disease process is treated but only partially treated.  Read a little more about this in this post if your interested.  A primary care physician recently told me, “I think the term ‘Partial Responder’ is a marketing gimmick to get physicians to prescribe more medications.  I don’t think it even exists.”

There’s a lot to be said about interview skills in sussing out the partial responder.  If I asked someone if they felt better, many things play into their response. Everyone’s responses are biased of course.  We don’t have sterile minds.  For example there’s the patient who wants to please their physician.  “Yes I’m better!”  i.e. “Yes you’re a good doctor!”  There are the patients who don’t want to be patients and minimize whatever they’re going through.  There is the physician who leads the interview.  “So, you’re feeling better?”  “The medication is helping?”

Partial response means that at the end of a full treatment initiation period, there is some disease remaining but a reduction of disease.  For example, in depression, I may no longer be suicidal, but I still have trouble feeling pleasure in life.  In cancer it means that there is tumor reduction of at least 30%.

Now why would a physician presumably agree that there is a partial response in cancer, but not agree that it happens in mental health?  Anyways….  (Ahem.)  When we partly respond to mental health treatment and don’t push further for full response, about 70% will relapse.  Versus maybe 25% in those who reached their pre-disease baseline emotional health through treatment.

Don’t get lost in this.  The point is, get treated and get fully treated.  Mental illness is progressive and causes changes at the cell level.  The brain is connected to the rest of our body.  The brain is human.  A bit better, is not enough.

Self Care Tip #61 – Go all the way!  Claim health.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Did you find this to be true in yourself or someone you know?  Please tell me your story.

Conned by Guilt

Feeling guilty? Many of us do. Some people are wired to in fact, more often than others. It’s in their temperament. This guilt nips their heels, urges them to attend birthday party’s, call their in-laws, respond to emotionally based petitions. You don’t have to be a Mom to imagine how kids can work it!

Paul Zak PhD believes that the hormone, oxytocin, is a key player in our emotional decisions. His book (The Moral Molecule) will be published in 2012. Oxytocin levels might even predispose us to being conned.

How bout us? Are we being conned by our guilt? Please let me know what you think….

But to be useful with this idea, what do we do with it? There’s nothing like the led weight of guilt to slow our steps, dim our lights and disinterest the once lion-hearted.

1st ask if the guilt is appropriate. If you can’t clearly sus that out, than run it by someone(s). After all, good science is one that demonstrates something that can be repeated. If more than one person tells you yes, than it’s more likely to be true.

In the situation that it’s not appropriate however, what now?
2 moms sitting on the step. Kids in a play-date in the background making noise. Their conversation turns to taking care of themselves and how guilty they feel just running errands without the kids, let alone taking time to exercise, a shower, a doctor’s appointment…. The conversation swivels through what to do with that guilt? (Let me clearly state we’re talking about the inappropriate type of guilt here.) Is there any hope?

Inappropriate guilt isn’t good on many levels.
1st off, you suffer.
But secondly and often less obviously, your “other” suffers – your kids or spouse or whomever is in the space of it’s heroic bleeding path. Frankly, it’s too much emotional responsibility for anyone to be on the receiving end for. People are grateful when you take care of yourself and leave them out of it. However, when you can’t, everyone suffers rather than benefits. It’s counter-intuitive to the giver but what comes from guilt is not a gift.

Insight helps. Personal support helps. Self-care helps. But what if it persists? Inappropriate guilt is common in many emotional illnesses, but especially ones involving mood and anxiety. If this guilt is building up a stink in your life, you may want to consider a medical reason.

Self Care Tip #18 – Do it for the right reasons. Be a friend to yourself.