Table of Contents
Are you allergic to Yourself? © Martyn Carruthers 2004
Do you turn to drugs instead of improving your relationships?
Self-medication with alcohol or nicotine, anti-depressants or
stimulants often seems easier than improving your relationships.
Do you want to change emotional or relationship habits … without drugs?
What are Autoimmune Diseases?
If you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks your own cells.
Autoimmune diseases are called collagen vascular diseases if your
immune system attacks supportive tissues and blood vessels.
In most autoimmune diseases the cause is unknown. People with myasthenia gravis make an antibody that blocks the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles; causing muscle weakness and breathing difficulty associated with the disease. In autoimmune hemolytic anemia, red blood cells are destroyed by autoantibodies. People with lupus erythematosus make antibodies that attack cell components.
If you have an autoimmune disease such as Lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks your body tissues instead of protecting them. Most current medical treatments attempt to relieve pain and suppress your immune system with steroids (corticosteroids) and other immunosuppressive drugs.
Although some autoimmune diseases are associated with exposure to toxic materials, we find that autoimmune conditions often originate in emotional trauma and relationship stress. Our systemic approach can complement medical treatment.
Some autoimmune symptoms appear to be triggered by food reactions and environmental sensitivities. Some people improve with vegetarian diets and some benefit from avoiding foods high in phenylalanine (e.g. chocolate, apples, chicken and peanuts) and tyrosine (e.g. dairy products, fish and oats). Some people react to common foods such as wheat, potatoes, milk and barley with depression.
Autoimmune diseases include lupus, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, but there are many others. Pemphigus vulgaris, for example, is a blistering disease of the skin and mucous membranes. Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) is also frequently autoimmune. Vitiligo (patchy loss of skin color) and alopecia (patchy or complete baldness) are sometimes seen with autoimmune conditions. Type 1 diabetes can result from white blood cells attacking the beta cells of the pancreas.
Environmental toxins appear to be a major contributor to autoimmune disease, although conventional physicians may ignore this when selecting medications. Instead, doctors may to try to shut down your body’s immune response with drugs.
People with autoimmune conditions can expect to be prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Aleve, steroids like prednisone and anti-cancer drugs such as methotrexate. Drugs such as Enbrel and Remicade can block the effects of inflammatory molecules.
Some doctors treat patients with autoimmune diseases by addressing the underlying causes, including toxins, infections, allergens, diet and stress. This functional medicine focuses on the causes of the problems, rather than the symptoms.
As the cause of autoimmunity is not fully understood, most medical treatment attempts to alleviate the symptoms, which vary according to the tissues being attacked. Pain-killers are commonly prescribed, as well as corticosteroids and other immune system suppressants. Regular exercise, a quality diet and adequate rest may help.
In the USA generally, something has to be proven harmful before
it is taken off the market. In Europe, something must generally
be proven safe before it is allowed onto the market.
Autoimmunity & Systemic Psychology
The older statistical paradigms used by physicians are slowly being replaced by systemic paradigms. If autoimmune symptoms are examined systemically, systemic solutions may be found. We strive to understand if and how symptoms make sense within a person’s life – especially within their family relationships.
We explore whether the health symptoms have useful functions. People with autoimmune symptoms often have a family history of autoimmune disease, yet some disease symptoms may reflect not genetic disturbances but emotional disturbances – often associated with deep limiting beliefs. Similarly, food allergies and sensitivities often seem to be reactions to family relationship issues.
For example, people who are intolerant of or allergic to milk products often seem to have missing, depressed or problematic mothers in early childhood.
If you want to learn more, Google “systemic coaching” with topics
such as allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome or lupus.
Let your experience indicate whether or not you are on the right track. Please don’t change any medication or prescribed symptom suppression until you discuss your research and results with a physician. And, as you improve your health, please share your experiences with us.
Consult your physician about any opinions about any medical symptoms,
medical diagnosis or medical conditions.
Are you Stuck?
What are you doing to get well? Are you just taking drugs or waiting for something to happen? You are stuck only if you choose to be so. Instead of frustrating or berating yourself, and others, please talk to your doctor about:
- Avoiding foods that may harm you
- Boosting your body’s detoxification
- Taking vitamin D, essential fats and probiotics
- Getting tested for mercury and other heavy metals
- Getting tested for allergic reactions to wheat and other grains
- Avoiding inflammatory foods such as dairy, eggs, corn and animal fats
- Changing your emotional entanglements and solving relationship issues
- Practicing deep relaxation daily through yoga, meditation, biofeedback, etc
You probably feel better after a good sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, you can:
- Establish a regular bed-time and stick to it
- Take a warm bath within two hours of going to bed
- Sleep on soft, lightweight sheets with a lightweight blanket
- Keep your bedroom temperature about 60°-65° F (15°-18° C)
Keep on keeping on. Explore what causes your body to communicate with pain and suffering – and choose to change.