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Do I Feel Stress?

Question:

4 years ago I was diagnosed with Ulceratvie Colitis…everytime I flare up (every six months or so) doctors say to me, what stress are you feeling? The thing is, I don’t feel warning signs of stress..then I’m very sick. Having this disease is stressful..always worrying about the status of it…but I still have to live…go to work, have a life…I don’t feel unhappy with my life yet I wonder if I could handle stress or feel it before it got to my "guts" would it make my disease more managable? I know I worry about stuff but I don’t know if I would overall say it impacts my daily life…I don’t know. Do you suggest pursuing this aspect or do I just have a disease that flares once or twice a year?? or both?

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Answer:

First, I believe it is important for you to go to the following web sites to learn all you can about ulcerative colitis. The first is from the National Institute for Health and Medlineplus:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ulcerativecolitis.html

The second site is from the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation of America:

http://www.aboutcolitis.com/colitisfoundation//

There is a lot of misinformation about these diseases. Ulcerative Colitis is an organic disease and is serious. The causes are not clearly known but it seems to run if families which means that there is probably a genetic cause to the disease. While emotional and life stress can complicate any chronic disease there is no evidence that stress and worry play any role in causing this disease. It is very stressful to have the disease, as it is to have any disease and this you need to realize. However, out breaks of colitis can occur whether there is stress present or not.

It could make sense to seek counseling from someone who specializes in this type of disease in order that they help you learn how to cope when there is an outbreak. Please realize that counseling will not prevent future outbreaks. People get this disease whether they are happy or sad, traumatized from terrible events or never traumatized by anything. It is not your fault that you have the illness and there is no reason for you believe that worrying will cause an outbreak.

I agree that you must and should go to work and live your life to its fullest capacity. Of course, you need to ready in the event that you have a sudden eruption of the disease.

Yes, you have a disease that flares up when you least expect it.

Just to reiterate: if you wish to go for therapy with a specialist in the field who can help you learn to cope with the illness that is a good idea. You could ask your doctors if they know anyone. Just be aware that psychotherapy will not help you avoid future flare ups.

Final conclusion: should you have therapy to learn how to make your illness more manageable: YES.

Best of Luck

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