I thought that I’d foward a link to this interesting article discussing the idea of stress being a causal factor, or affecting
outcome of women with breast cancer.
I wish I could do a better job of evaluating articles like this one. One of the problems with articles like this, is that we are not reviewing the actual research paper that was published which would give us a better idea of what was done.
I think that medical research like this needs to move beyond thinking that either stress causes something or it doesn’t, into looking at things from a more integrated way, i.e., using the Diathesis Stress Hypothesis, for example, which suggests that when disease comes up it may be caused by both stress and some physical predisposition to the problem. In such cases, the same amount of stress would lead to some people getting sick and some remaining
healthy. I also like to add to this hypothesis that there are two kinds of stress, internal and external. Furthermore, that in most cases it is the internal stress that is the most important factor because it is constant.
Internal stress can consist of negative self-talk, painful emotions that have been unexpressed and/or unresolved, as well as negative stress-causing beliefs (i.e., I’ll never measure up, there is something wrong with me, I’m going to Hell, and so on). External stressors include all things that must be dealt with in the environment, ranging from normal day to day stressors like work, family issues, however small or great, even war and natural disasters, and chemical toxins.
With this view, we should take care to treat people with chronic illnesses in a more holistic way, helping them to both take care of their bodies through appropriate medical treatment, and helping toresolve internal stressors, usually issue from the past.