Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Fighting Spirit Won’t Save Your Life - NYTimes.com

But there's no evidence to back up the idea that an upbeat attitude can prevent any illness or help someone recover from one more readily. On the contrary, a recently completed study of nearly 60,000 people in Finland and Sweden who were followed for almost 30 years found no significant association...
The incessant pressure to be positive imposes an enormous burden on patients whose course of treatment doesn't go as planned.
It is difficult enough to be injured or gravely ill. To add to this the burden of guilt over a supposed failure to have the right attitude toward one's illness is unconscionable. Linking health to personal virtue and vice not only is bad science, it's bad medicine.
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I can't even count how many times I've been told that my symptoms are worse because I'm dwelling on them.  No, I can only think about my symptoms because that's how overwhelming they are -- I'd love to watch TV or read a book, but I can't concentrate because I'm in so much pain or have slept so little that my brain isn't functioning.

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