The Disease Delusion

A few years ago I interviewed the founding father of functional medicine, Dr Jeff Bland, for my online Abundant Energy Summit in 2015.

As some of you may remember, we partly discussed his latest book at the time which had the provocative title: “The Disease Delusion.”

Was Dr Bland saying in his book that diseases don’t exist and people aren’t suffering? Not at all.

He was explaining that the conventional medical approach sees disease as a type of fixed abnormality that shows up because of an inborn genetic defect, or because some molecular pathway or enzyme stopped working properly.

Rather than look into the reason for this malfunction (which in fact is a symptom of something else going out of balance), it is viewed as the only cause, so the “cure” is either to lop something out via surgery, or simply block the enzyme or metabolic pathway causing the symptoms with a drug.

Of course, we know this approach is failing badly in the area of chronic complex illness where drugs that are used to suppress symptoms long term have side effects which can cause other illnesses that may be worse than the original disease!

In the functional medicine approach (and naturopathic & alternative medicines), a particular disease is seen to have come about as an adaption over many years to the interplay of environmental factors (diet, lifestyle, social factors etc) with a person’s gene expression.

Diseases don’t just show up randomly for no reason. They have root causes which, when addressed can prevent diseases occurring in the first place and can even reverse existing diseases.

Now the root causes can be totally different for the SAME disease state. So for example someone with depression might have a thyroid disorder, leaky gut and childhood trauma at its root.

Someone else with depression may have HPA axis dysfunction, omega 3 deficiency and heavy metal toxicity as the root cause of their illness.

We see this in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and any other “disease” you care to name.

So the name of the disease is just a way of describing a set of symptoms, and becomes relatively unimportant when considering treatment.

This is the basis of the “personalized medicine” approach. Effective treatment entails a customized approach – there IS no fixed protocol that’s the same for everyone with a specific disease.

Hence the “disease delusion.”

Mental Health

Probably the area of medicine where the “disease delusion” is more applicable than any other is mental illness.

What seems very sad is that the vast majority of mental illnesses categorized by psychiatrists in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are not in fact diseases but symptoms which reflect adaptions to what a person usually went through in childhood.

The interplay of genes, emotional trauma in childhood and other environmental factors including exposure to toxins are what result in “mental diseases.” Developmental trauma usually precedes the final diagnosis.

Psychiatric powers that be still deny that developmental trauma exists, as the world leading expert in trauma, Dr Bessel van der Kolk, Head of Psychiatry at Boston Medical School said: “Clearly our field would like to ignore social realities and study genes…”

Watch his excellent lecture at Yale University where he demonstrates that emotional trauma in childhood, specifically attachment and developmental trauma are at the root cause of borderline personality disorder, bipolar and ADHD/ADD:

Addiction

Addiction is one area of mental health where slowly but surely mental health professionals are starting to see the social and emotional root causes rather than medicate symptoms of what is only seen as a chemical imbalance.

“Addiction shouldn’t be called addiction. It should be called ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking” says Dr. Daniel Sumrok, director of the Center for Addiction Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine.

He says: “Ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking (what traditionalists call addiction) is a normal response to the adversity experienced in childhood, just like bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed.”

Dr Sumrok is one of an increasing number of researchers and clinicians who’s outlook on addiction has been transformed by the Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) studies of over 17,500 adults completed by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente.

The original study showed that with just 4 ACEs you were:

  • More than 7 times as likely to be an alcoholic
  • More than 10 times as likely to use injection drugs
  • Almost 3 times as likely to smoke
  • Over 3 times as likely to binge drink

When we have unresolved emotions from trauma in childhood OR adulthood, we can get addicted to anything from drugs, sugar, sex, workaholism or over-giving to others.

We see addictive patterns in all types of illnesses – especially those with fatigue related conditions where we may be addicted to productivity, perfectionism, action, anxiety, excitement, achieving or over-focusing on others – all leading to varying degrees of burnout due to lack of real rest and relaxation.

These addictions are all ways to numb or avoid the emotional pain we are feeling underneath and distract ourselves.

Rarely is the underlying emotional aspect addressed and supported in recovery from fatigue and pain conditions.

Food addiction due to emotional eating is vastly underestimated, yet the studies confirm emotional trauma is a major factor in obesity today.

The main stream media approach to the obesity epidemic (where of course obesity is viewed as another chemical-only based disease) still reflects the futile and misleading idea that there is a “fat gene.” Yes – just one root cause, genetic only of course!

The Heal Your Hunger Workshop  – Starts Tomorrow (Monday 2nd October)

This leads me on to an interview I did recently for my friend and expert Tricia Nelson’s free Heal Your Hunger workshop.

Many of us use food as a way to feel better – either to give us a lift, calm us down, give us more energy, or because we’re trying to feel love and connection.

When we may unconsciously look to food for peace of mind, it can create havoc with our weight, mood and well-being. Addressing our emotional needs with the right tools – at the psycho-emotional level is often the answer.

So if this topic resonates with you, join me for the free Heal Your Hunger workshop where we explore ways to rebuild a healthy emotional relationship with food once again.

Click on the image below for more information.

Take care for now,

Niki

This article belongs to The Abundant Energy Expert ! The original article can be found here: The Disease Delusion

The Abundant Energy Expert © 2017 - All Rights Reserved

3 Comments on The Disease Delusion

  1. Martha Hyde
    October 2, 2017 at 9:11 am (3 weeks ago)

    This post reminds me of another post (https://stopthestorm.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/two-scales-in-combo-absolutely-needed-adult-attachment-and-aces/) where the author laments the fact that the ACE scores are so minimally helpful. She correctly identifies the problem lies with its non-specificity and inability to correlate degree of trauma with the score. The ACE score only identifies that a person has had severe childhood trauma and in no way truly quantifies the amount of trauma. This is probably because we still have not honed in on the full effects of every type of trauma that the ACE test tries to consider. We can only hope that with more scrutiny and testing that others will come up with a better way to measure trauma. Some have suggested subcategory testing as well, but again, that means we have to fully understand the effects of each type of trauma. And, as alchemynow suggests in that post mentioned, early childhood trauma is clearly far worse than trauma after the age of 3, but is fraught with problems in detection by both the investigator and the investigated.

  2. Niki
    October 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Yes if you see my ACEs scoring page, I have made the point that the ACEs score is in noty useful for really assessing emotional abuse and emotional neglect. https://www.nikigratrix.com/acescore/. In truth, because what may traumatize one person, may not traumatize another (and we are genetically going to respond differently too) AND due to the fact we can inherit inter-generational trauma, there is unlikely to ever be a really accurate objective test for the level of real trauma. The ACEs score really just starts a very personal exploration process.

  3. Claudia
    October 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm (2 weeks ago)

    A very unfortunate and disappointing title as, once again, the sufferer appears to be blamed…. I haven’t read the book, but, based on your article, the title should be THE DIAGNOSIS DELUSION.

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