Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain
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Psychosomatic Medicine: Dealing with Stress and Pain. Psychological factors may exacerbate or even trigger medical disorders. Poor behavioral choices (e.g., diet, exercise, smoking, excess alcohol) Personality factors (Type A behavior)

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Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

Psychosomatic Medicine:Dealing with Stress and Pain


Psychological factors may exacerbate or even trigger medical disorders

Psychological factors may exacerbate or even trigger medical disorders

  • Poor behavioral choices (e.g., diet, exercise, smoking, excess alcohol)

  • Personality factors (Type A behavior)

  • Mental disorders (e.g., depression) can contribute to other diseases

  • Stressful events or circumstances can precipitate or exacerbate diseases

Type A behavior: Obsessive-compulsive, fear loss of control, excessively intrinsically-originating pressure to get

things done, competitiveness, sometimes hostile (Type A hostility is statistically associated with coronary disease)


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGYThe concept of a stress response: Physical or psychological stress alters the body's neuroendocrine systems. Responses are attempts to successfully cope with stress. When stress is severe or chronic, the altered physiology can cause or exacerbate health problems.Holmes life stress scale: statistical association between stress and numerous illnesses. Negative events are more detrimental than positive ones.Selye's general adaptation syndrome: Endocrine response to acute and chronic stress.Stress and disease: immune system cells both synthesize and respond to ACTH and beta-endorphins.Ader: Conditioned immunosuppression in rodents; conditioned immunoactivation. Pairing exposure to immunoactivators or immunosuppressors with smells.Chronic stress reduces a variety of immune indices in humans. (Glaser & Kiecolt-Glaser)Chronic stress decreases resistance to infectious diseases in mice (Ader).


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

80% of Pts with a

total of > 300 in a

year became Ill during

the subsequent year

Thomas Holmes

Social Readjustment

Rating Scale

Journal of Psychosomatic

Research 11:216, 1967


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGYThe concept of a stress response: Physical or psychological stress alters the body's neuroendocrine systems. Responses are attempts to successfully cope with stress. When stress is severe or chronic, the altered physiology can cause or exacerbate health problems.Holmes life stress scale: statistical association between stress and numerous illnesses. Negative events are more detrimental than positive ones. Selye's general adaptation syndrome: Endocrine response to acute and chronic stress.Stress and disease: immune system cells both synthesize and respond to ACTH and beta-endorphins.Ader: Conditioned immunosuppression in rodents; conditioned immunoactivation. Pairing exposure to immunoactivators or immunosuppressors with smells.Chronic stress reduces a variety of immune indices in humans. (Glaser & Kiecolt-Glaser)Chronic stress decreases resistance to infectious diseases in mice (Ader).


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

Prolonged exposure to stage of resistance is chronic stress

Release of glucocorticoids from the adrenal

Cortex is an important part of stress response

Minutes to hours

Hours to indefinite


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

H. Selye: General Adaptation Syndrome: Stress reaction has 3 stages, Alarm, Resistance and Exhaustion. Stress disorders represent reaction to chronic involvement in stage of resistance, "wearing down."Selye:*Eustress(+)e.g., physical exercise*Distress(-)e.g., environmental pressuresLazarus emphasized coping vs. vulnerability as a key dimension as to whether stress resulted in stress disorders.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

StressvNeural Activation - HypothalamusvSecretion of Corticotrophin Releasing Factor (CRF)vPituitary Release of Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH)vAdrenal Release of GlucocorticoidsvMetabolic, Immunological, Psychological Responses


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGYThe concept of a stress response: Physical or psychological stress alters the body's neuroendocrine systems. Responses are attempts to successfully cope with stress. When stress is severe or chronic, the altered physiology can cause or exacerbate health problems.Holmes life stress scale: statistical association between stress and numerous illnesses. Negative events are more detrimental than positive ones. Selye's general adaptation syndrome: Endocrine response to acute and chronic stress.Stress and disease: immune system cells both synthesize and respond to ACTH and beta-endorphins.Ader: Conditioned immunosuppression in rodents; conditioned immunoactivation. Pairing exposure to immunoactivators or immunosuppressors with smells.Chronic stress reduces a variety of immune indices in humans. (Glaser & Kiecolt-Glaser)Chronic stress decreases resistance to infectious diseases in mice (Ader).


Glucocorticoids from adrenal cortex

Glucocorticoids from adrenal cortex

Gluconeogenesis (from protein)

Suppressed inflammation

Immunosuppression

decreased lymphocyte response

impaired natural killer cell function

Feedback to brain (esp Hippocampus)


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND DISEASE - IaPeptic Ulcers:•For years there was an established relationship between peptic ulcers (and other GI irritative diseases) and psychological stress.•Marshall and Warren “Unidentified curved bacilli in the stomach of pts with gastric and peptic ulceration” (Lancet, 1984)•Very tight causal relation between Helicobacter pylori and peptic ulcer and other irritative GI diseases. •Diagnosis of infection (serology, IGG for H.p.; or endoscopy-biopsy), treat with antibiotics (tetracycline, metronidazole), is eradicating H. pylori infection in much of US populationSo What Happened to the Relationship to Stress?


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND DISEASE - IbEvidence for a Relationship Between Stress and Ulcers:•Gastric fluids increase acidity in response to anger, hostility, resentment, guilt, frustration.•Stressful situations (surgery, school exams) increase basal gastric acid secretion.•Alleviation of stress can reverse peptic ulcer condition.•Animals exposed to stress develop stomach ulcers.•Ulcer occurs in the absence of H. pylori infection.•Most people still have H. pylori infection and do not have ulcers.•Ulcer patients more likely to exhibit excess stress (Levenstein & Veylan, J. Clin. Gastroenterol., 1995).•Psychological stress impedes ulcer healing.•Other factors also important: sex (choose female), blood type (avoid O), other genetics, cigarettes, coffee, alcohol consumption patterns, possibly diet. These are not correlated with presence or degree of H. pylori infection.•A “Psychosomatic” etiology is often preferentially discarded as soon as a “biological” explanation becomes available.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND DISEASE - IcAside from Impaired Treatment of Pts and Widespread Overprescription of Antibiotics, are there Costs?On the Horizon:•Absence of H. pylori infection may be linked to gastroesophogeal reflux disease (“acid reflux”; Labenz et al., Gastroenterology, 1997)•Reflux disease increases risk for gastric adenocarcinoma, a serious form of malignancy, which has recently also been linked by co-occurrence to absence of H. pylori infection.•H. pylori infection is dropping, especially among SES levels with good medical care.•Stay tuned. And don’t throw out good data just because something more “biological” comes along. Consider the whole patient, both in theory and in practice.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND DISEASE Iia

Coronary Artery Disease (Leading US cause of death; 1,250,000 heart attacks/year):

  • Type A behavior? (Time urgency, competitive achievement orientation, anger hostility). Controversial, particularly in details, hostility may be most predictive of CAD.

  • Stress can increase serum cholesterol levels.

    Sudden Cardiac Death:

  • Heart arrhythmias may be associated with chronic stress (animal and human studies)

  • Clear evidence for stress as cause or contributing factor in many human clinical cases

    Learned Helplessness (Seligman):

  • Controllable vs. uncontrollable life events; uncontrollable events lead to feelings of helplessness

  • Sense of personal control of one’s life leads to greater self-efficacy, “hardiness”

  • May be a model for depression


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND DISEASE IIbHypertension (incidence: 25-38% of adults); major risk factor for cardiac and brain disorders:•Chronic stress leads to hypertension in animal studies•Human studies suggest greater tendency towards hypertension with stress.Stressful occupations: Air traffic controllers have exceptionally high prevalence of hypertensionCancer:•Rats subjected to stress less likely to reject tumor implants•Women who respond poorly to stress: cervical cancer incidence higher; increased incidence of malignacy in breast biopsies•Depressed mood linked to increased cancer risk


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEMStress and disease: immune system cells both synthesize and respond to ACTH and beta-endorphins.Ader: Conditioned immunosuppression in rodents; conditioned immunoactivation. Pairing exposure to immunoactivators or immunosuppressors with smells.Stress Impairs Resistance to Infection in Laboratory Animals(Ader)


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEMEvidence that Psychological Stess Affects Human Immune Function(Kiecolt-Glaser & Glaser, 1987)*Men whose wives had died of breast cancer had decreased immune function*Marital disruption is associated with increased morbidity and mortality*Divorced people more likely to die from pneumonia than married people*Women who are separated have 30% more appointments for physical illness*Patients with mental illness have greater numbers of physical illnesses*Medical students have reduced immune function (Natural Killer Cell activity) during final exams*The Holmes life stress scale receives biological validation


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

STRESS AND PSYCHIATRIC ILLNESS*Social stressors often associated with depression*Other medical illnesses increase probability of psychiatric disorders by about 1/3*Posttraumatic stress disorder: often see loss of affect, withdrawal, other signs of depression, some violent hostile behavior patterns, etc.*Kindling theory of depression (like kindled seizures)*Up to four-fold increase in incidence of psychiatric symptoms in people with high stress levels and poor coping skills vs. people with low stress levels, good coping skills


Stress and the brain

STRESS AND THE BRAIN

  • Aging memory disorders - non-Alzheimer or other dementias. Associated with hippocampal neuron loss

  • Animal model: Chronic stress or glucocorticoid exposure

  • Stress induces:

    • Neuron loss in hippocampus (esp. region CA1) (Sapolsky)

    • Adrenalectomy induces hippocampal granule cell loss (Sloviter)

    • Individual stress history, indicated by adrenal weight, predicts hippocampal pyramidal cell loss with aging (Landfield)


Stress and the brain continued

STRESS AND THE BRAIN (Continued)

  • Mechanism (?) (Sapolsky)

    • Glucocorticoids disrupt hippocampal glucose utilization. This leaves neurons vulnerable to insults.

    • Glucocorticoid administration sensitizes the hippocampus to epilepsy or hypoxia

    • Glucose supplements protect the hippocampus

    • Likewise, monkeys that died from ulceration had more hippocampal neuron loss than those that did not.

  • Early Handling protects against stress-induced neuron loss

    BOTTOM LINE: STRESS AFFECTS THE BRAIN, AND THE WRONG KIND OF STRESS AFFECTS IT NEGATIVELY. THE ANSWERS ARE FAR FROM ALL IN, AND AS A PHYSICIAN, CONTINUING TO EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

NEW TOPIC: PAINACUTE PERIPHERAL PAIN (You will get again in Neuro course)Epidermal Pain: c-fiber activation by intense physical stimulationInjurious tissue damage --> bradykinin (peptide), which in turn activates c-fibersc-fibers: small, unmyelinated somatosensory fibers that innervate epidermis, striated muscle, joints, etc.*most senstive to local anesthetics*interact with other sensory input to amplify pain sensationOpiate systems in spinal cord react to diminish this type of pain within a few minutes.This system subserves acute pain.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

ACUTE PERIPHERAL PAINAnti-opiates such as naloxone may increase pain, revealing effects of the body’s opiate systems. Placebo (“sugar pill”) administration may sometimes cause activation of opiate systems if subjects believe the pills are painkillers. Naloxone-sensitive pain reduction. Psychological activation of endogenous opiate systems.However, acute pain can modify central systems on a longer term basis. It is now commonly recommended that both peripheral “local” anesthetization and global anesthetic administration be used in conjunction with pain-inducing surgical procedures. Repetitious activation of C fibers builds up the electrical response of neurons to which they project in the spinal cord. This resembles LTP, a process thought to be involved in memory.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

According to S. Siegel, an addict can take a dosage of heroin that would kill a person not used to it. But in fact, if the dosage is administered to the addict when he is unaware of it, it can kill the addict as well.Behavioral tolerance (to be described if time allows) suggests that conditioning affects the response to drugs.A rat can tolerate a larger dosage of an opiate if it is used to getting the opiate in a particular setting.Alternating injections, water and alcohol. Alcohol reduces body temperature. If all alcohol injections occur in one room and water injections in another, animals “defend” body temperature against alcohol.Addictions can also be dependent on context. Leaving an environment can leave drug addictions behind (e.g., Vietnam veterans). Reinstating environmental conditions can cause feelings of withdrawal.S. Siegel et al., Heroin overdose death: contribution of drug-associated environmental cues. Science, 216: 436-7, 1982


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

CHRONIC PAIN Chronic Pain: Basis is often much less clear. Incidence: more than 40% of the population will experience pain at some time in their lives.Chronic pain is not merely persistent acute pain. It may occur in the absence of obvious peripheral or visceral pathology.All pain has both sensory and affective-evaluative components. Focusing exclusively on either of these alone is equally misguided.With chronic pain there is not a linear relationship between nociception and pain experience. In chronic pain syndromes, there are qualitative differences in the affective-evaluative perception of pain.Prevalence of chronic pain increases with age


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

Sources of Chronic PainChronic Benign Pain: Any pain resulting from nonmalignant causes that is not allieviated by appropriate medical, pharmacotherapy, or surgical treatment.Example: Fibromyalgia, widespread aching, local tenderness, absence of laboratory evidence of inflammation. American College of Rheumatology defines as involving 3 or more segments of the body and at least 11 of 18 “tender points.” (e.g., trapezius, rib junctions, buttocks, knees) Steroids and NSAIDS have no more effect than placebo. (Placebos benefit 50% of patients, at least short-term.) Ketamine (NMDA receptor antagonist) appears to be effective in 50% of patients. Some think fibromyalgia is one extreme on a continuum of widespread chronic pain syndromes. Higher incidence in females.Opiates remain the most effective medications for managing chronic pain.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

Behavioral Approaches to Chronic Pain ManagementIt was historically thought that chronic pain patients exaggerated trivial pain problems--not made of “the right stuff.” This is not therapeutically helpful. Goal is restoration of functional life. Chronic pain can have secondary consequences: depressive illness, marital discord, job problems social withdrawal, sleep disorders.Biofeedback therapies combine feedback from detectors such as muscle EMG electrodes with techniques such as muscle relaxation to affect muscle function. Biofeedback can be effective for muscle contraction headaches, for symptoms of chronic stress such as anxiety, and for blood pressure disorders such as hypertension.Controlling pain behavior through operant conditioning and other behavioral approaches has also had success. The approach focuses upon modifying pain-related behavior separately from the treatment of the pain itself.Exercise and conditioning (e.g. stretching) is a very important mitigator of increased chronic pain with aging. Mild joint and limb pain is very common in sedentary (inactive) aging people.


Psychosomatic medicine dealing with stress and pain

Gate Control theory of Pain (Melzack): the interpretation of sensation as painful depends on the relative amounts of large fiber vs. small fiber (c-fiber) activity. Propose stimulating large fibers. Works for some pts, not all.Chronic treatment with normally addictive drugs such as opiates is not as addictive as expected if the withdrawal of the opiate accompanies mitigation of the pain due to recovery or some other form of treatment. The addictions are often context-dependent and, if the context, chronic pain, goes away, the addiction may do likewise.Pain increases in incidence in elderly. Physicians may dismiss as “just a part of growing old.” This is age discrimination and not appropriate. Physician should make every attempt to diagnose and treat the pain.


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