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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.

Here is today’s question:

QUESTION: How is it possible for some chronic pain patients to do well without narcotics or other pain medications?

ANSWER: There was an episode of the TV show “House” a few years ago where Dr. House’s pain was completely ameliorated by the placebo injection given to him by Dr. Cuddy, which he believed was the real drug. Although real hospitals don’t function anything like the fictional Princeton Plainsboro Hospital depicted on that show, the actual physiology and diagnostics in each episode were accurate, including Dr. House’s response to the placebo.

What happened in that episode was that Dr. House’s belief that he’d received the actual drug tricked his brain into making the endogenous analog of morphine. This happens all the time in the real world. Such is the power of the mind to effect actual physiological changes.

This 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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