Opinion | The influence of Mental Attitude on the Treatment of Physical Illness

The history of medicine and scientific studies show how societies have changed in their approach to illness and disease from ancient times to the present. Babylon, China, Egypt, and India introduced the concepts of medical diagnosis and prognosis. Since then, the field of medicine has grown with many scientific breakthroughs for even deadly diseases, but what has piqued the interest of many researchers is the astounding aspect of medications and their effects, which vary greatly from person to person, not just for desire effect but mostly for the undesired and sometimes even worsening effects on the patient. What seems more astonishing is the difference in the response rate even with the same drug administration on individuals of the same sex, age, and similar health conditions. These factors and many more make us question the validity and reliability of medicine as the only factor responsible for the cure.
Until very recently, we used to think of medicine as being all about pills and potions, but science has already revealed that for many conditions, other factors could be critical to the success of these drugs, or perhaps even replace them. The most important component among all that takes the driving seat is nothing more than our mind, also referred to as the control centre of our body. The Human Brain as Explained by Scientist Michio Kaku “Sitting on your shoulders is the most complex object of the known universe.” Most of our conscious and unconscious actions and reactions are controlled and coordinated by our minds. The unconscious, the powerhouse of who we are, is the master of our mental and physical behaviour, doing almost everything for us except, for example, distinguishing between a real event and what we merely think. A nightmare or hypnosis is what the mind believes to be true and physiology experiences. As the brain is the physical place where the mind resides, the mind is the manifestation of thought, perception, emotion, determination, memory, and imagination that take place within the brain. There is no separation between the brain and the mind, just as there is no separation between mind and body. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. Studies during the 1980s and early 1990s revealed that the brain is directly wired to the immune system, which was followed by studies on how we can influence them, particularly by modulating our stress response. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are. Therefore, it is no wonder that the mind has an influence over medicine usage and how it can influence the treatment process and, in fact, the outcome of that treatment. The result is a complex connection between our mind and body.
The idea that the mind can exert healing powers over the body is most often associated with pseudoscience, and most researchers justify it with scientific reasons and continue doing so. Though the subject of mind over medicine becomes more contentious when discussing cancer and other chronic illnesses, consider the placebo effect and subjective improvement in patients after taking bogus drugs. The very real physiological and biochemical changes that can occur in the brain and body as a result of some completely bogus treatments are a clear indication of patient mindset manipulation. We know from studies and research that the mind and body work in tandem when it comes to our experiencing some physical ailments. This idea about the mind’s capacity to promote or deter actual physical healing is undeniably fascinating. It’s important to know how our lifestyle impacts our brain, and what positive changes we can make to promote a healthier future. But there is more to it than that. I believe that revolutionising the concept of fighting illness rather than suffering from it is necessary for both health practitioners and the person with the health condition. One place to start is with medical professionals who coexist in both conventional and alternative approaches to wellness, particularly mental wellness.

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