Anita Kemp Ph.D. Blog

Ideas for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Chronic Pain, Opioids, Thoughts

Yes, by now, we all know that there is an opioid addiction epidemic. For most people, it starts out innocently with an surgery and an MD readily giving a prescription for pain killers. Then the medication’s additive effects get going and you are trapped. Now MDs are getting wiser and prescribing less. So what do you do if you have chronic pain?  First realize all the negative effects of these drugs. Yes opioids dampen pain but tolerance develops and you need more. The drugs slow the gut with result of constipation which can be severe and the drugs can cause intense itching. Most seriously the drugs can lead to respiratory depression and death.

What are the choices for pain control? The power of the mind and relaxation provide the answer. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) provides a program that is available online and has been effective in reducing chronic pain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has also been effective by reducing catastrophic thinking. Those thoughts that say “This is really bad and what if …..”  In fact this catastrophizing is the largest factor in determining the impact of chronic pain on one’s life. There are things in your control and you can learn to control thoughts that impede your quality of life. Other approaches are hypnosis, mindfulness and guided imagery. There are better options than pain killers.

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June 18, 2017 Posted by | health | , | Leave a comment

DEPRESSION AND INFLAMMATION

Andrew Weil MD ha summarized new research about inflammation and depression. The marker of inflammatory disease is  C-reactive protein and things like rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease. In one study, it was found that C-reactive protein- is 46% higher in those who have depression compared with those who do not. When individuals are given medication to reduce inflammation, depression is reduced.  Of course, this is still in the investigatory stages and you don’t want to start taking anti inflammatory drugs at this point for depression. Dr. Weil recommends an anti-inflammatory diet which is all the good stuff – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and seeds along with exercise.  He also suggested adding turmeric because it is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is always worth looking at diet and exercise if you have depression. It can make the difference.

May 14, 2017 Posted by | Depression, health | | Leave a comment

Thyroid and Mood

This little organ – the thyroid- does amazing things for the body and needs to be in balance for your physical and mental health. If you have symptoms of stress, insomnia, feel overwhelmed, have trouble losing weight, feels depressed or anxious, take a look at this wonderful book – ADRENAL THYROID REVOLUTION by Aviva Romm MD.

Her focus is on hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue. Imbalances occur through chronic stress, toxins, infections, food triggers and problems with the gut. The  solution is to work on all the relevant areas. Stress management is central and here is where yoga and meditation can be a tremendous help. Other areas need to be assessed by  WHOLISTIC DOCTOR.  These come under various names like integrative medicine doctor, functional medicine doctor or naturopathic doctor. Visit websites for American Board of Integrative Medicine, Institute of Functional Medicine.

 

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Emotional Well Being, health, weight management | , , | Leave a comment

Why Gut Microbes Matter

More information keeps coming out on the benefits of healthy gut flora. A diversity is needed because each different strain has different benefits. Besides the physical health benefits for chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes and obesity, there are mental health benefits. A new study found benefits for PTSD. More research needs to occur because this study was on mice and there is a long stretch to say that mice meet the criteria for PTSD because they cannot report the symptoms. However, new mental health treatments might just involve diet and/or fecal transplants. Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter of Sept. 2016 has a good article on this. He advises including in your diet leafy green vegetables, and fermented foods along with exercise, avoiding antibiotics and not being a germophobe.

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mind Over Body

Please take a look at Jo Marchant’s Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body. There are many wonderful chapters on the power of the mind that can benefit everyone. Did you know that hypnosis is the only effective treatment for IBS? Did you know that even if someone is told that they are taking a placebo pill, it still works? If you are given a placebo painkiller that looks identical, at least 95% of people have a positive response. Hypnosis for pain relief influences the area of the brain involved in pain perception. It creates a real effect. I’ll let you read the rest.

August 8, 2016 Posted by | health | , | Leave a comment

Common Medications That May Be Linked to Dementia

The July/August Scientific American Mind has two very interesting articles concerning common medications and a possible link with dementia. Do you take a proton-pump inhibitor? These are medications such as Nexium and Prilosec. A study of 73,679 elder individuals found that dementia was found more often in those taking these drugs. This study was published in JAMA Neurology in February. There is an association not a causation.

The other class of drugs to be wary of are statins which are used to lower cholesterol and becoming very common. Neurological effects can be produced by these drugs. Apparently some people are more susceptible than others for unknown reason. Some people develop ALS type symptoms with muscle wasting and may also be related to dementia. Some more common side effects are fatigue, cognition problems, poor sleep, peripheral neuropathy.

So be aware and look into healthy diet and exercise instead.

June 19, 2016 Posted by | health | Leave a comment

The Placebo Impact

There is so much information on the positive benefits of placebos. Here is some more. When Diazepam for anxiety is given without the patient knowing that he/she received it, there is no impact at all. This indicates that most if not all of the impact of drugs like Valium and Ativan is due to the placebo effect. This is good news. It means that we ourselves create the change in our bodies and receive relaxation from the belief that this should be happening. This indicates that relaxation training can be as successful as drugs.

Even more good news! For chronic pain, a study found that an intravenous injection of a saline solution and telling the patient that they are receiving a painkiller is as potent as 6-8 mg of morphine and this hold true for other pain killers as well. So what is causing the pain relief? Our own brain/body. This has also been studied with brain imaging and finding impact on the brain from expectation alone.

Check out this new book by Jo Marchant CURE: A JOURNEY INTO THE SCIENCE OF MIND OVER BODY.

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment

Gut Microbes and Your Moods

Absolutely read David Perlmutter’s new book BRAIN MAKER. He is a neurologist who has worked with and studied various mental health conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Depression and Dementia from the point of view of healthy diet and keeping the microbes in the body happy. There is fascinating information here that can benefit everyone. The gut bacteria are involved in producing 80-90% of your serotonin and have their own immune system which is 70-80% of your total immune system. If you need more incentive to read this book – certain gut bacteria are related to weight loss and others to weight gain. After you find out about the critical importance of the microbiome, he offers help on how to maintain healthy bacteria. Some of this you certainly already know – like yogurt- and other ideas may be new to you – like foods rich in prebiotics. Happy reading and happy health.

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | | Leave a comment

Infection and Depression

There is a lot of new information about all the problems that chronic inflammation causes. One of the latest is that it can cause depression. Check out the article “Can Infection Give You the Blues” in Scientific American Mind May/June 2015. The general thesis is that stress can activate the immune system to be always on and this then causes inflammation. Inflammation causes the felling of depression. When you first get sick, you actually have symptoms like depression. You have low motivation, feel tired, lose your appetite, have trouble concentrating and tend to want to be by yourself. If this illness continues in the form of inflammation, then actual depression can set in. The usual psychological treatments are still good. And new treatments are being added. The Scientific American Mind article notes that diet and anti-inflammatory medications may be of help.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Depression | Leave a comment

Mindfulness Benefits

Research continues to find benefits for mindfulness based meditation and these can not be ignored. Mindfulness is associated with positive emotion, improved resilience to stress, increased immune functioning, improved cognitive performance and overall reduction in anxiety, depression and improved longevity. How can you ignore the benefits? The amount of time required for benefit seems minimal compared to the amount of time we might spend texting/e-mailing or watching television/movies. Positive results are found for even 20 minutes a day for 10 weeks with improvement being maintained after this for months. Take a look at material available from Jon Kabat-Zinn who has one version of mindfulness called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and look into the research of Richard Davidson Ph.D. Invest in your health and it is fun as well.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | , , | Leave a comment