2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Are You Reluctant to Get Well?

Click here for the original post.

It’s very possible that your immediate response to this question is anger, resentment, or hurt feelings. You might think to yourself, “I don’t need to hear this. I thought he was empathetic.” You may even be tempted to move your cursor to “unsubscribe” and click hard.

If you’ve got a chronic condition like chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), or irritable bowel and you’ve been on a medical quest for a cure, perhaps for years, you might be deeply offended by my question.

However, if this health tip can move even a few people out of the illness rut their lives have become, then, for the rest of you, please try to smooth your ruffled feathers. With enough Googling, you can always find someone with special tests, a new protocol, or at least….nicer.

I first heard of the concept of deep processing one’s chronic illness years ago during talks by Drs. Caroline Myss and Christiane Northrup (to whom my book The Triple Whammy Cure is dedicated). When faced with a chronic condition like the ones mentioned above, they urged asking yourself “Why this? Why now? What does this illness mean for me?” and the key holistic question, “What are my body and these symptoms trying to tell me?”

If you couldn’t come up with any answers–or didn’t like those answers your intuition was sending you–have counseling. Do not, under any circumstances, according to author and former psychotherapist Anne Wilson Schaef, become addicted to your illness.

Some of the discomforting questions Dr. Northrup asked included: When you were a child, was there a benefit to being ill, like increased attention from your mother or avoidance of a bully at school? How would you proceed with your life if you woke up and never had another symptom of your condition ever again? Why did you become angry when your doctor suggested counseling instead of more tests?

It’s not that people necessarily avoid asking themselves these questions. Most likely, it never occurred to them that these would be important questions to be asked and for them to answer.

But what Drs. Northrup, Myss, and Schaef were driving at was this: is it possible that you’re getting some unconscious benefit from being an ill person? Is it also possible that your unending quest for wellness, that ever elusive “cure” for your condition, is an endless holding pattern that allows you to evade the real issues about yourself?

Several years ago, my neighbors over at DePaul University, under the direction of Dr Leonard Jason, conducted the largest analysis of CFS-FM patients ever attempted. During the course of the study, I encouraged dozens of patients from my own practice to enroll. Dr Jason was seeking to corroborate other studies that had shown (a) there was no actual physical disease with these conditions, and (b) psychological counseling and physical therapy were the most effective forms of treatment.

Enrollees were given a thorough medical evaluation with lots of tests, and then divided into different therapy groups. The most telling conclusion was that although everyone showed up for the tests (which revealed nothing except varying degrees of adrenal fatigue), the drop-out rate from all therapies was very high.

(In my opinion, there was one serious flaw in the DePaul study–that little time was spent on medications. FM is definitely a chronic pain condition needing painkillers and muscle relaxants. CFS improves with antidepressants and certain stimulants, like Provigil. Part of the stress that aggravates these conditions comes from untreated symptoms not taken seriously by physicians.)

The important message here is that the study dropout rate was very high. In Freudian terms, this is called resistance, and I’ll talk more about that in a future health tip.

My next health tip illustrates resistance. Until then…


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • Protecting Yourself From Overdiagnosis

    Bill, a healthy looking guy in his mid-40s, came to WholeHealth Chicago because he wanted to get off Lipitor, the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug. Bill had virtually no risks for heart disease and all four of his grandparents were still alive and quite independent, but a few years ago his cholesterol was on the high side and his doctor insisted on the Lipitor. Arthur has Read More

  • Dying In A Leadership Vacuum: The NEJM Editorial in Context

    By now, you’ve probably read that the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an editorial entitled “Dying In A Leadership Vacuum” that asks Americans to work together to vote out Donald Trump because of his dreadful mismanagement of Covid-19 and the subsequent deaths of more than 220,000 Americans. To call the editorial scathing would be putting it mildly. If you don’t Read More

  • IV Immune Boost: Now Is The Time

    Nobody I know was surprised when the president and many of his staff were found to be Covid-19 positive. You can only thumb your nose at science for so long before Mother Nature gets exasperated and lets you have it. To me, the real irony is this: at the same time the upper echelon in Washington is receiving gold-plated medical care, they’re pushing through the Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!