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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larryB&W@300This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Someone recently asked me this question:

QUESTION: What do I do now? I’ve already been to a large academic medical center and when they couldn’t help me, I went to a specialty center at a different academic medical center in another state. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me either.

ANSWER: Sometimes when, even after going to two or three well-known academic medical centers, the doctors either can’t find a clear diagnosis or haven’t found an effective treatment, patients seek alternative treatments.

Although I recommend starting with academic medical centers, when you’ve done that and even after getting a second and third opinion, you still haven’t been helped, some people have been helped by complimentary and alternative treatments. However, I recommend spending time at the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine first. They are part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and can be found here: http://nccam.nih.gov/

The reason I recommend the NIH site is because the vast majority of information on complimentary and alternative medicine is not evidence-based and can be very expensive, especially since it is not covered by health insurance. In addition to the NIH site listed above, two other good sites for reliable information are: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cam specifically for cancer and www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-alternative-medicine for more general information.

My website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.

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