‘‘If a feeling becomes strong enough, it might become an image. This image can be of help for the mind.’’ (T.S. Elliot)

As a doctor, what extent of responsibility do you have in assessing your patients’ situation and exploring possible “prescriptions”? How much of the patients’ story will you relate to and through what filters will you assess their choices and the possible impact of those choices on their lives? Stepping away from the simple drug prescription associated with the said diagnosis, the doctor’s role necessarily changes.

When one delves into the root causes of diseases, etiology, circumstances, aggravating factors, stressors, coping skills, psychological outlook, support systems available, etc., the prescription becomes more elaborate and individualized. What is true for one patient suffering from the same disease or ailment is not necessarily true for another.

Each patient’s prescribed course of treatment varies based on their individual condition and circumstances; however, every prescription can be enhanced by addressing the emotional, as well as the physical aspects of a patient’s situation.

Overall, mind-body medicine reduces stress and enhances well-being.

Ernst explains that mind-body medicine reduces stress and enhances well-being, regardless of the specific condition and symptoms: “These mind-body techniques help change the way individuals think about the problem, which gives them more control over their responses to the stress.

“This enables individuals to manage and even reduce their stress because they are able to assert control over their reactions and behaviors to the stress… It is not the stress itself that causes physical and mental harm, but it is the reaction to the stress that determines how the individual experiences it. It becomes essential for individuals to learn how to control their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors when encountering stressful situations.” (Ernst, 2001 LINK TO SOURCE)

We’ll get more into these issues next time.