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Danielle's picture

Treating Symptoms

      I am very interested in the idea relating the need to diagnose illness in order to treat symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms and illness are not related and if no illness or disease is diagnosed then the symptoms are dismissed and said to be a product of the brain. Do we always need to relate illness with symptoms or can symptoms be treated without a diagnosis of disease or pathology? In some cases, a significant number of our symptoms are the result of exposure to the media and its portrayal of disease. We are constantly exposed to a variety of medications that treat a diversity of diseases. Could some of our experienced symptoms be an artifact of our environmental exposure to disease? Our constant exposure to disease and treatments convinces our brain that we could be experiencing symptoms of that disease. Our constant exposure to different diseases through the media makes us concerned about our future experiences with disease. Thus, we are constantly looking for symptoms that might make us catch a disease before it progresses or before symptoms get out of our control. By being overly sensitive to our bodily functions and symptoms, we feel we are taking control over our bodies and being proactive about prolonging a healthy state of being.            

        In order to overcome our preoccupation with disease related symptoms, we take medications like Advil and Tylenol to ease our worries of possible disease and to take a proactive approach. I think that Advil and Tylenol do perform their necessary functions within the body and do change the body in a way that reduces an adverse symptom, but I think these drugs are taken with liberty even in the absence of symptoms related to physical changes within the body. I think that a good portion of the symptoms experienced are artifacts that arise from constant exposure to disease and treatments of disease. The distinction between physical and mental is quite ambiguous being that the brain itself can manifest symptoms that have no physical basis or diagnosis.  

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