HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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CANCER AND COMPASSION FATIGUE AWARENESS FOR CAREGIVERS

in any number of ways. Unlike burnout, compassion fatigue is highly treatable and may be less predictable. The onset of compassion fatigue can be sudden, whereas burnout usually emerges over time. Furthermore, severe cases of burnout sometimes require the person experiencing it to change jobs or occupations, but measures can often be taken to prevent or treat compassion fatigue before a change in work environment is required.


Common symptoms of compassion fatigue include a reduced sense of personal accomplishment or meaning, isolation and emotional, mental and physical exhaustion. Not only are caregivers vulnerable, but so are members of the clinical treatment teams and family and friends of cancer patients. Managing compassion fatigue may involve finding someone to talk to about how it is affecting you as a caregiver. Often people experiencing compassion fatigue will seek the professional support of a mental health clinician to help them overcome difficult thoughts and emotions and focus on healthy coping mechanisms. Talking about it can help you understand the pain you feel is normal because of the variability of the journey cancer patients face. The nature of the disease has a contagion effect: When remission occurs, caregivers have a sense of relief just as the patient does, but when the efforts to treat the cancer fails, the stress and depression the patient experiences extends to caregivers.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller

Cancer involves abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. This process is very complex because of the multiple ways it affects each individual. More than 100 types of cancer affect human beings today. For some, early treatment may lead to a favorable resolution, while other cancer patients face extended and difficult challenges that do not offer an easy resolution.


You may find yourself taking care of a loved one or friend after a diagnosis of cancer. Your care and devotion are admirable and necessary. But caregivers for cancer patients need to be aware of what has become known as vicarious traumatization. People who provide clinical care, others who volunteer to be supportive in both hospitals and hospice settings and the family and friends of cancer patients are potentially vulnerable to being exposed to vicarious traumatization. Over time, vicarious trauma leads to chronic compassion fatigue. Hospice caregivers are especially vulnerable to compassion fatigue because the main focus of hospice is end-of-life care.


In understanding compassion fatigue, you should realize an emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with cancer patients can trigger this disorder. It differs from burnout but can co-exist with burnout. Compassion fatigue is a secondary stress reaction from a clinician’s perspective. This is a type of stress that results from helping or wanting to help those who are struggling with their health and well-being