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      I thought some of you may be interested in this, if you have any
      questions about the study please contact Ann.

      Subject:        Re: Triggers
      From:        Ann/Joel
      Date:        Mon, 26 May 1997 20:03:28 -0700

      Carol et al.:
              You asked me to post my research since there are a lot of new
      readers here. I will do this as briefly as I can.I had Graves’ disease diagnosed about 4 years ago. I was working on my
      doctorate in clinical psychology at the time, and my experience inspired
      my dissertation research. The doctor said it was caused by stress and
      I, like many people, began to blame myself: “What’s wrong with the way
      I cope with stress that I make myself sick?” I think doctors don’t
      realize how much self-blame patients can produce when they get sick.
      But knowing that self-blame could not possibly be a helpful way to look
      at this, I set about researching how it is that Graves’ patients view
      their world, pre-illness. That is, how do Graves’ patients explain
      things that happen to them to themselves?
              I was interested in the work of Martin Seligman having to do with
      “explanatory style” which is how we explain events to ourselves and
      pretty much set by age eight. (Luckily, it can also be changed through
      psychotherapeutic interventions and in other ways.) My research was
      supported by Kaiser Permanente, a huge HMO, who provided me with Graves’
      disease patients, a group of matched non-Graves’ disease thyroid
      patients, and another contrast group of non-thyroid patients.
              To make a long story short, it turns out that Graves’ disease
      patients tend to be more pessimistic, more anxious and more depressed than
      non-Graves’ disease folks. This is true of people who tend to get
      chronic illness in general. Seligman’s point is that explanatory style,
      set by age eight, is a predictor of life time health issues.
              As far as causes, in studies of identical twins, something less
      than 50% is accounted for by genetics. This means that explanatory style is
      an additive risk factor in people who are predisposed to the illness
      because of genetic factors. Extreme acute stress is a factor, as well
      as ongoing chronic stress. This means that the acute stressor of a
      death of a parent to a young child, followed by years of chronic stress
      as a result of that death, are both possible triggers. Also, Graves’
      disease incidence goes up dramatically in wartime and drops in peace
      time. Most Graves’ disease patients can tell you exactly what stressor
      triggered the onset of the disease, and often it is catastrophic: death,
      divorce, etc. Remembering that this illness is a dysfunction of the
      immune system, we already know that stress impacts the immune and
      degrades it over time.
              The hormone system plays another big role, and far more women than
      men get GD (14:1), and the illness clusters around puberty, pregnancy,
      childbirth, and menopause–all times a big hormonal changes.
              A lot of research has shown that GD patients continue to deal with
      anxiety and depression and cognitive and/or memory problems even 2-3
      years after treatment and all blood work is “normal.” This is the area
      I am most interested in now, both because of my personal experience and
      because as a professional I know that psychological factors play a huge
      role in this.
              The healing has to be physical and psychological. In my work I
      help people discover new ways of coping with stress that help them manage it
      without developing anxiety and depression, and in groups we work on
      stress management ideas, as well as ways to reduce or eliminate the
      effects of depression and anxiety on our lives. Since most GD patients
      have never met another person with GD, in groups we find we can learn a
      lot from each other while supporting each other.
              I would welcome comments or questions, but would appreciate it if
      you could send them to my email address since I don’t get to read this
      newsgroup too often these days.
              I hope this is helpful, Carol!
              Ann Buscho PhD

      Please send any questions to Ann and not to me…


        Post count: 93172

        Message that I got from this “study” is that people who didn’t feel good were studied and they all didn’t feel too good. I wonder what their life outlook was before GD? Varied, I would think. Some are probably fully vested in go for the gusto…some are probably aestetic, some are meditating under oak trees, others were busy with viable life projects, living and helping others. The statement that GD patients tend to be more anything than other folks is unqualified. When did they come under the attack of the anti-bodies? When did their thyroid levels change, versus when was that discovered?
        Bank tellers will tell you that in general people are different when they are at the bank and dealing with their money. I suspect that as people walk into the shadow of a big HMO insearch of health care, they manifest a bit of extra tremble too. I would. Anyway, if it is a comfort to you that it is in fact all your fault that you have GD, this is the stuff to read. If you hadn’t been so weird, had such an aberrant
        bummer life to begin with, now you wouldn’t have GD.
        Obviously our view on life is important to all aspects of our health, but these study conclusions take a nasty twist that will come back to bite folks dealing with GD. Imagine your friends, co-workers and boss relaying this definitive information to you. Well, I won’t burden you all with anymore of my distaste for this type of pseudo science generality.

          Post count: 93172

          I read the Graves study BB and found it to be interesting. I read lots of things on Graves Disease ever since I got the Eye problems and all of those things have been interesting too. :)

          STRESS Gee if stress is my problem then I better not even watch the News on TV or even a scary movie! My job is stressful. Driving on the freeway is stressful. Having a family is stressful. Watching my eyes get worse after treatment is stressful. Having the doctor tell me I can’t get disability because I can still see is stressful. Seeing the head optho at my HMO and waiting and hour and forty-five minutes to be seen and all they can tell me after exam is to put in the eye drops is stressful. Knowing a little kid was waiting to have his retina fixed after the doctor got done with me was stressful. Hearing Barb Bush has Graves Disease for the umpteenth time is stressful.

          I think that all this stress talk is silly… I have always had stress in my life and I never robbed a bank or ever been so sickly until after I got Graves Disease. The best part is all my blood tests are “Normal”!

          Now I am 42 years old, my eyes are bulging out of my head but according to my primary care doctor, I am depressed. I guess to him I am not sick because my bloods test are “within normal range”. I might be frustrated but not crazy. Although doing the same things (like going to same doctors) over and over again and expecting a diferent result is kind of crazy! The shrink said I was not depressed and of course I agreed with him. :) Had to see him just to get an excuse to go back to work.

          I wonder how Barb and George are taking all of this crazy talk.


            Post count: 93172

            Real Alias, after reading your post I would guess that you are one of those
            Graves’ patients who go for the gusto, are possibly aesthetic or a meditator,
            and are busy living and helping others. I would class myself into this
            category of livelihood, also. Doesn’t that describe all of us?

            Like you, to be lumped into a pessimistic, anxious and depressed generality
            upsets me. But, I remind myself that this is one person’s viewpoint after
            some research that couldn’t possibly cover the gamut of Graves’ patients
            and their experiences. These adjectives describe some people with or
            without Graves’. Ann made some interesting comments and raised some more
            questions for us to ponder, but I won’t take her research as gospel truth.

            Personally, I didn’t have an acute stressor in my life to trigger Graves’,
            and I certainly don’t attribute how I handle stress to its onset. If stress
            in my life was supposed to be the trigger, then I should’ve gotten it years
            ago during college and my first job experiences!! But, it does make me
            wonder and take a closer look at my emotional side. At this point, I can only
            place genetic predisposition as my cause, because of the history of thyroid
            problems on both sides of my family.

            My point and yours (if I understand you right), I will not blame myself or
            my life style for getting Graves’ Disease. I blame no one and nothing. It
            just happened, I deal with it, and I do everything I can to keep myself
            healthy and happy. I try to live each day to the fullest, just like I did
            before I was diagnosed with Graves’. (If people think I’m weird or aberrant,
            then that’s their problem! hehe)

            Just one more person’s point of view, Debby

              Post count: 93172

              you know what? I think that stress exacerbates anybodies propensity for disease and gets us in our weakest point. Since life is unavoidable considering the alternative, stress is unavoidable. I may be hyper and soon maybe not. (I keep hoping…)

              BUT, I have decided to put the anxious energy into laughter and jokes and to KEEP up a GOOD ATTITUDE.

              It’s the only way I can see to combat the negative aspects of stress and maybe it will work. If it doesn’t….then at least I had fun :)

              It’s kinda funny. The biggest stress before I was diagnosed was that I felt stressed out all the time. Hearing that I had a physiological reason for the way I felt took about fifty pounds off my shoulders. I can find reasons to be stressed out and past experiences that are at least as bad as the next guys. Some better, some worse. I can blame my life on my disease or my disease on my life. But I still have to live with it and this disease. I am going to make the best of it.

              It does seem to take some time however to process the number of years I ws hyper and under the impression that I was crazy or something. My outlook changes depending on the level of my thyroid hormones. But I have laughed harder and longer since I was treated last year and overmedicated to hyper (just less hyper than before). It has at least felt like a good trip instead of a bad one. Just knowing what is going on…

              I hope this makes sense.


                Post count: 93172

                As I posted the Graves study that Ann did I thought that I would give
                you my thoughts on the matter which are not scientifically based.
                Someone here as said that Anns study was pesudo-science, could
                they please write to Ann and put this too her, Thankyou
                I can’t agree with the pessimistic side to Anns study, although she
                did site this only a contributing factor. I have found life to be far
                more pessamistic since I discovered that Endocrinologists know
                so little about the disease and it’s causes. I am also more angry
                now that I have let these people and some of their comments have
                such a great impact on my life. I am astounded that people who are
                supposed to be carers are allowed to insult so many people in
                the manner in which so many obviously do.

                As for the anxiety I have completely blacked out the year preceding
                my Graves Disease and have no idea what events took place.
                I think there are many disease that in time will be linked with
                specific thoughts, events or feelings. I know from general personal
                conversations with people with Vitiligo (also an autoimmune disorder)
                that this may also be linked to a certain kind of emotion.
                I do agree with Anns point about acute stressors, and I personally
                believe that many things cause prolonged stress to the body,
                environmental as well as emotional which I suppose could be construed
                as acute too.

                If the brain is dealing with the Endocrine system telling it what
                chemicals (hormones) to release to keep the body in harmony, then it makes
                sense to accept that accute stress could send things into turmoil.

                If the Endocrine system was to be viewed as a whole thing working
                together then thinking may change slightly, and approches to
                treatments may improve or change. Who knows these things?


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