Segments in this Video

Psychological Factors and Physical Illness: Introduction (02:59)


People often say their emotions make them sick. Dr. Edward Katkin discusses research into the connection between stress and disease.

Coronary Heart Disease (04:39)

Frank Pink discusses his family history of heart disease and a recent chest pain episode. He enrolled in a prevention program; cardiologist Dr. Marian Limacher discusses risk factors. A psychological assessment revealed anxiety and stress contributed to his symptoms.

Psychological Make-Up and Illness (06:10)

Type-A personalities have been linked to heart disease; in particular, how hostility interacts with lifestyle seems to be a factor. Frank's work ethic and perfectionism causes tension in his work and family relationships and increase his stress level.

Stress and Heart Disease (06:24)

Hear how the stress response can weaken blood vessels, over time. Frank enrolled in a stress management course to control his response to stressors; techniques include deep muscle relaxation. He reflects on attitude and lifestyle changes.

Migraine Headaches (05:11)

Dillon Vargas, 13, describes his symptoms. Twenty million Americans suffer the condition believed to be a cerebral vasculature disorder. Sympathetic nervous system arousal, certain foods, and hormones seem to trigger migraines. Learn about pharmacological treatment options.

Stress and Migraines (04:07)

Neurological medications were problematic for Dillon, who has a family history of migraines and is sensitive to stress. He has enrolled in a biofeedback program for stress reduction. Hear how relaxation techniques affect the sympathetic nervous system.

Treating Migraines through Relaxation (04:54)

Dr. Guillermo Argueta-Bernal has confirmed that stress triggered Dillon's headaches and taught him tension relief exercises. Hear how biofeedback works to decrease sympathetic nervous system activity. Dillon's migraines have improved without medication.

Breast Cancer and Stress (03:24)

Kathleen Morrell relates her diagnosis; learn about risk factors. She believes stress contributed to the disease, as well as genetic predisposition.

Psychoneuroimmunology (03:23)

A new field studies how emotions affect our immune and endocrine systems. Learn about B and T cell functions. Neuropeptides communicating between immune and nervous systems originate in the limbic system, where emotions live.

Stress and the Immune System (04:03)

Drs. Ronald Glaser and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser have conducted studies correlating stress and suppressed immune system function among medical students and Alzheimer’s patient caregivers. The immune response is important in preventing autoimmune, infectious, and cancer disease groups.

Cancer and Psychology Debate (02:31)

Glaser cautions against drawing cause and effect relationships between stress and cancer, although stress does suppress the immune system. Kathleen has undergone psychotherapy as well as medical treatment for breast cancer.

Holistic Healthcare Philosophy (07:17)

Dr. Robert Hoffman discusses using psychological as well as medical treatments for breast cancer patients. Studies show social support assists natural killer cells and increases survival rates. Kathleen attends a support group and believes stress reduction will aid her recovery.

Psychological Factors and Physical Illness: Summary (00:48)

Kathleen, Frank and Dillon believe stress has played a role in their illness onset and stress reduction can help them recover. Research is still needed to understand how psychological factors impact disease.

Credits: Psychological Factors and Physical Illness (01:23)

Credits: Psychological Factors and Physical Illness

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Psychological Factors and Physical Illness

Part of the Series : The World of Abnormal Psychology
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This program examines the relationship between emotions and health to explore how psychological treatment can improve well-being. It focuses on a teenager with migraine headaches, a dentist trying to decrease his risk for developing heart disease, and a woman with breast cancer.

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: FMK160472

Copyright date: ©1992

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.