Health Psychology: Stress and Well Being

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Health Psychology: Stress and Well Being
Shavonia Finley
PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology
Destiny Champion
February 14, 2011

Health Psychology: Stress and Well Being In everyone’s life a little stress must fall. We all have to deal with daily hassles and various personal stressors that effect our emotional and physical health. The manner in which we deal with these stressors can alleviate or reduce stress or it can make things worse. Mind and body issues have bemused philosophers and psychologists since the ancient Greeks; however recently a new subfield in psychology has immerged to investigate the subject. Health psychology focuses on psychological factors and how they relate to wellness and illness. This would include
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One example of how stress can leave someone vulnerable to illness is clear when we look at the case of an adolescent girl named Tatiana. Tatiana has had to take on parental responsibilities for her little sister for the past several years, giving up all social time with her friends to do so. She has also had knowledge of the financial difficulties her parents have had to deal with recently. To make matters worse, she has had to move from her home, just as she is starting middle school, to a whole new state. Recently she presented with severe abdominal pains from constipation. None of the over-the-counter remedies helped and she was admitted to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a virus that paralyzed her intestines so the doctor gave her antibiotics and a special diet to follow. Unfortunately, her condition continued to decline and the doctors decided her symptoms were psychosomatic, implying her illness was not real. She eventually lost all muscle function in her arms and legs and was confined to a wheelchair. She then was enrolled in a program run by a health psychologist designed to treat psychophysiological disorders. Since her physical ailments were already being treated by a pediatrician they could concentrate on the psychological and emotional difficulties and how they all interacted. After two months in the program,
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