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.


June 18, 2017 Posted by | 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

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

Instant Gratification and Food

What drive us to want something NOW? It seems so hard to wait when we start thinking about that Latte or French Fries or ………  This seems to be hard-wired. And this makes sense if we think about our heritage as scavengers/hunters. When we would come upon some food, we took it and soon ate it. You never knew when the next bite would come. Now we have food everywhere and much of it is very tempting. The scientists have come up with the term temporal discounting to explain what we do. This means viewing small rewards now as better than bigger rewards down the road. So yes we all agree that we don’t want a heart attack in five years from eating fatty foods. And yet that cheeseburger is very appetising now and would so satisfy the hunger at lunch time. So what can we do? The solution lies in waiting five minutes and then checking out if this is what you really want. You can apply the Mindfulness tools that we spoke about before. These help you really decipher if this is what you want – both physically and emotionally. Then realize that some of these tendencies are hard-wired and take time to change. Be gentle with yourself.

March 4, 2013 Posted by | weight management | , | Leave a comment