"It' All In Your Head"

Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., M.Sc.

Over the past 17 years I have seen an increasing number of people in my private practice who present them-selves with several dozen different symptoms. The most common of these symptoms are listed below:

fatigue, lethargy, poor memory, numbness, tingling, burning, history of frequent infections and prescriptions for antibiotics, persistent prostatitis, vaginitis, cystitis or other genito-urinary infections, history of birth control pills or cortisone-like drugs, reactions to perfumes, tobacco, chemicals athlete's foot, ring worm, jock itch, chronic fungal nail or skin infections, chronic rashes or itching, psoriasis, recurrent hives, cravings for sugar, breads, or alcoholic beverages, insomnia, muscle aches, weakness, paralysis, joint pain or swelling, dry mouth or throat, rash or blisters in mouth, bad breath, nasal congestion or post-nasal drip, nasal itching, sore throat, recurrent cough, bronchitis, laryngitis, wheezing, otitis or otalgia, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea/constipation, rectal itching, heartburn, food hyper-sensitivity, mucus in the stools, impotence, loss of libido, endometriosis, infertility, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, depression, irritability, cold extremities, drowsiness, incoordination, mood swings, headaches, dizziness, foot, hair or body odour not relieved by washing.

Usually, these multi-symptomed victims make the rounds of general practitioners and specialists and, after much conventional medical testing are told, "It's all in your head." People who suffer from multiple symptoms often escape a clear diagnostic label. Candidiasis is appealing as an explanation. So is "stress." There are, however, many other possibilities.

In the late 20th Century, a health care practitioner must be willing to unravel the myriad of clues presented to him each day by a poly-symptomed clientele. To assume these people suffer strictly from "psychosomatic", "burnout" or "functional" illness is dangerous. New diseases are becoming more common due to the changing ecological environment, natural disasters bringing plagues and other physical ailments, pollution, the depletion of the ozone layer and the population explosion, just to name a few.

The "all in your head" patient ultimately appears at the offices of "alternative" health care providers. The naturopath or holistic medical doctor is usually last on the list of practitioners who have attempted to resolve complex, chronic health problems.

Careful physical investigations often reveal that "all in your head" people have hidden biochemical and immunological imbalances. Although testing may be tedious and sometimes expensive it usually leads to the physical source of the symptoms. Quickie drug prescriptions based on signs and symptoms and the explanation, "It's all in your head" are not only intellectually unsatisfying but frequently false.

If treatable medical conditions have been ruled out by your doctors, the following is a list of things to consider as potential sources of chronic, intractable problems:

1. Stress-related illness, psycho-neurosis, spiritual/relationship problems, etc.

2. Viral neuromyasthenia, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or other chronic viral illnesses.

3. Hypothyroidism, Wilson's syndrome.

4. Heavy metal toxicity or hyper-sensitivity (e.g. mercury in dental amalgams).

5. Subclinical vitamin deficiencies especially in B complex vitamins; some patients are so deficient that injections are required before some B vitamins like folic acid can be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

6. Mineral deficiencies or imbalances — zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, magnesium, chromium, manganese, silicon, boron, iodine and others.

7. Essential fatty acid and essential amino acid deficiencies or imbalances.

8. Masked food allergies and delayed hypersensitivity.

9. Hyper/hypoglycemia.

10. Chronic parasitic infections (usually missed through inappropriate or poor medical testing).

11. Chemical or environmental allergies.

12. Other endocrinological disorders — adrenal (Dhea, cortisol), gonadal dysfunction (progesterone, estriol, testosterone).

13. Gastric hypochlorhydria (low or absent stomach acid), pancreatic insufficiency (low pancreatic digestive enzyme secretion).

14. Candidiasis syndrome; other chronic undiagnosed gastrointestinal infections.

The human being is a composite organism of body, mind and spirit. Wellness enhancement must take all three components into consideration. >From the physical point of view, a variety of special testing can be considered to uncover underlying biological imbalances. These include dietary intake analysis, comprehensive stool and digestive analysis, vitamin and mineral analysis, endocrine organ testing, amino acid analysis, testing for food and environmental allergies and hair mineral analysis. If you are not convinced that your chronic health problems are just in your head, find a complementary medical practitioner in your area willing to spend the time to unravel the mystery that is uniquely you.

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