Hypochondria

BanfieldPortrait

My objective in studying undetectable illnesses was to determine the various causes and develop effective cures, or methods of managing them.

The current group of Wikipedia editors, as of 24-8-13, are repeating the mistakes of history because they have failed to learn the simple fact that many diseases which were considered to be imaginary in the past have since been proven real by advances in diagnostic technology, and that fact still exists now, and will continue in the future.

Furthermore, many diseases are not understood or effectively treated today, because, in the past, whenever intelligent patients have attempted to describe or study, or cure their own ailments, they have been discouraged by labels of mental illness and  branded as hypochondriacs. Consequently that useful information has never become available.

The biased and incompetent editors in Wikipedia have not only repeated that mistakes, but have also deliberately deleted the page about my theory and it’s link to my book which contains 1000 pages of evidence of physical cause, and where I am the only person in the world to have studied and documented that topic comprehensively.

My cold blooded, scientific, fact, and evidence based study of undetectable health problems gets me a lot of criticism from people who favour the previous ideas about the possible emotional and psychological causes where there is supposedly some sort of mystery wandering around in the persons head to cause various symptoms in the body.

While there may be some relevance to some of those ideas in some patients, in the majority it is just ridiculous victim blaming nonsense.

The name hypochondria means “below the rib cartilages” and has absolutely NOTHING to do with imaginary illness

HypoAnatomyDiag

The names and definitions of diseases are changed to hide the mistaken ideas of the past

The name hypochondria comes from the ancient Greek language where the word hypo means “below”, and chondros means “cartilage”, and the combination is used to describe the the region of the human body called the upper abdomen, which is just below the rib cartilages. The diagram on the right shows a map of the human body where RH is the right hypochondriac, LH is the left hypochondriac, and St are the stomach or eli-gastric regions.

It also refers to a set of symptoms which mainly occur in that area, although the cause has never been detectable, so they have generally been regarded as trivial or imaginary and psychological.

However, in 1975  I had many health problems which I had been told were not evident on blood tests or x-rays, and which were not being relieved by any form of treatment.

Nevertheless I had a very good education and decided to apply the scientific principles to examine each and every symptom in great detail, one at a time, to determine the cause, and develop effective methods of treatment for myself.

Within a few years I was able to determine that they had a common cause which was an abnormal forward curvature in my upper spine, or poor posture, which was straining my back muscles, and repeatedly compressing the internal structures of my chest and abdomen, particularly those in that region.

In the following  two minute YouTube video I briefly explain, with diagrams, how I drew that conclusion.

The previous theories about undetectable illness being the imaginary symptoms of psychological cause have failed to take into consideration two major principle of law and science.

First there is the well established legal principle which states that “the absence of evidence does not equate with the evidence of absence“.

Second, there is the scientific fact, most obviously proven by the invention of the microscope, that “you can’t assume that something does not exist just because you can’t see it.”

Anyone who argues that the symptoms of hypochondria are trivial or imaginary is disregarding those legal and scientific laws.

Any definition or use the term hypochondria should be ethically, morally, and legally bound to acknowledge that it is most likely that at least 50% of undetectable illnesses have a probable physical cause, and that the remainder may or may not have a psychological aspect. They should never be allowed to exaggerate the value of modern technology by stating or implying that it is exclusively, or even mainly a psychological problem.

If they do it should officially be classified as defamation of character, and  a betrayal of the patients trust in medical science, and professional and criminal misconduct.

Introduction

The word hypochondria comes from the ancient Greek language where “hypo” means “below” and “chondros” means “cartilage”, in particular, the rib cartilages.  it referred to a set of symptoms which were attributed to a disorder of the upper abdomen. See here.

However, because the cause has never been determined, the definition of that word has undergone many different changes where it has often been popular to blame the patient for the failure of detection by arguing that the symptoms are just trivial or imaginary.

Nowadays the only people who are ever likely to be diagnosed with hypochondria are those who have symptoms or illness which don’t show on blood tests or x-rays. That is the only objective criteria, where all the other explanations of cause are additional.

That is simply because the personality or mental state of the person has absolutely no influence on it. For example if someone attended a clinic and was told that the cause of their aliment had been detected, they would be given a diagnosis and routinely accepted as being a ‘normal’ persons. However, if exactly the same person presented with an undetectable ailment, they would, sooner or later, be diagnosed as a hypochondriac, and the illness would be attributed to one, of dozens, or even hundreds of different types of mental illness to explain it.

That situation occurs because of the type of biased editing in Wikipedia, where the editors would be fully aware of my book, and choose to ignore 1000 pages of objective anatomical, empirical, and scientific evidence of a many possible physical causes, and write only one page which they literally fill with psychiatric explanations. Those editors are attempting to crush and destroy freedom of speech, by silencing all medical consumers, and making them a voiceless underclass.

Each and every one of those editors should be permanently banned for blatant conflict of interest, and for deliberately breaking the ethical principles and rules of neutral point of view.

i.e. They are almost completely excluding the most likely possibility of physical causes and shoving the psychiatric labels in the readers face. here.

The theories of imaginary cause have been proven wrong repeatedly throughout history and will continue to be proven wrong

For the past few hundred years the word hypochondria has been used in the medical and general literature as a label for people whose illnesses don’t show up on any medical diagnostic test, and who complain about symptoms which are supposedly trivial, or entirely imaginary, and attributable to psychological problems.

However there has also been the development of devices such as microscopes and x-ray machines which have proven the concept of imaginary cause is wrong over and over again. For example, microscopes have revealed the existence of  microbes which cause countless number of  injuries and infectious illnesses which were not previously visible, and X-rays and other technological devices have revealed the causes of innumerable injuries to internal anatomy which were previously not evident because they are behind a layer of skin.

It therefore surprises me that any intelligent adult would take that diagnosis seriously, but I suppose doctors need it in their day to day methods of dealing with patients whose real physical illnesses are still not evident, despite all of those advances in diagnostic technology.

I became interested in this subject in 1975 because I had a gradually increasing number of health problems which were not responding to any form of treatment, so it became essential for me to investigate the cause for myself.

it was very obvious to me that the problems had a physical basis because, for example, at one stage I would get aches in my left kidney each time I leaned toward a desk to count coins, and it would stop each time I leaned back again, and sat upright. That task was so routine that it wasn’t even remotely sensible to argue that the aches were caused by worry or stress.

Similarly I would get stomach pains if I leaned down to tie up my shoe laces, and when I leaned down to clean low windows, or stretched up or sideways to clean high windows, or those to the left or right, and if I squatted down and leaned forward I would get faint and dizzy, and become very quickly exhausted. It was also quite common for me to feel faint or breathless when I leaned toward a carpenters bench, a kitchen sink, or a washing machine.

At one stage I was diagnosed as a “hopeless hypochondriac”, but eventually I was able to determine that the symptoms were all real and physical, and were due to the long term affects of my physique which involved an abnormal curvature of my upper spine, sideways curvature of my spine, an an abnormal chest shape, in combination with activities which involved repeatedly leaning forward etc.

I also came to the correct conclusion that my chest pains were due to the long term affects of compression of my ribs which produced tenderness between them in several areas, but particularly in the lower left side. Proof of a physical cause was reported by a researcher named Paul Wood, who explained in his 1956 book that the injection of a pain killing drug in the skin of that part of the chest had no effect, but when injected into the correct spot the pain disappeared. Similarly when I investigated the nature of all of the other illnesses I found evidence of physical cause. For example, the breathlessness involved abnormal movements in the respiratory muscles, and the faintness and fatigue is due to inefficient and abnormal blood flow throughout the body.

It took me awhile, but as you can see, I found ample evidence which proved that the ideas of imaginary cause were completely wrong, and no reasonable or unbiased adult would argue about it.

The only objective thing that can be said about ailments that can’t be diagnosed is that doctors don’t have the equipment which is capable of detecting them yet.

Old and disproven definitions of the word “hypochondria”

However, despite that, the diagnosis of imaginary disease  still remains popular.

The label has generally been applied to people who have multiple aches and pains where the cause is not evident yet, as can be seen in the following definitions from the past . . .

“The hypochondriac usually fancies himself the subject of all the ills that flesh is heir to.” Ref: The Doctor at Home, and Nurses Guided Book (1910).

“Hypochondriacs constantly imagine they are ill”. Ref: The Australian Family Health Encyclopaedia (1966).

“Hypochondriac – is characterised by excessive concern about one’s health in the absence of  actual physical disease or disorder”. Ref: The Encyclopaedia Americana; International Edition (1990). (end of quotes).

Wikipedia’s current biased and extremely misleading definition of hypochondria

Firstly, a quote from Wikipedia

“We want you to imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge . That is our commitment and we need your help.” here.

The current group of Wikipedia editors, as of 24-8-13, are repeating the mistakes of history instead of learning from them. Countless ailments which were previously deemed imaginary have since been proven as real by advances in diagnostic technology, and that process will continue into the future. See here. Also, according to modern mainstream medical opinion stomach ulcers were believed to be psychosomatic, and the main cause was considered to be anxiety and stress, until the 1980’s, because no-one believed that it was possible for microbes to live in stomach acid, and they were not evident by diagnostic methods until that time.

The following quotes come from the current edition of Wikipedia as of 6th July 2013 here . . . “Hypochondriasis or hypochondria (sometimes referred to as health phobia or health anxiety) refers to excessive preoccupancy or worry about having a serious illness. This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the body’s condition despite the absence of an actual medical condition.” (end of quote).

As you can see I solved my health problems by studying them myself, whereas most patients keep on going back to their doctors, only to be told that their symptoms are imaginary and caused by psychological factors, when in fact the real cause is undetectable physical factors, and there is absolutely nothing mentally wrong with them.

I have been describing the real causes of illness for 38 years, and adding some of that information to Wikipedia, but other people, and other editors just keep on ignoring the massive mistaken beliefs of imaginary cause which have been proven wrong over and over again throughout the history of medicine, and they deceive the public by deleting the scientific proof of physical cause, and keep on arguing that the cause is psychological.

I don’t want to be impolite about all this, but I sometimes have been out of necessity, because when I wrote objectively my evidence was just ignored, and in the worst situations, my diplomacy was deliberately misrepresented as a sign of personal weakness. However, I have always written about this topic without fear or favor, and it is a case of some of my critics not wanting the facts to get in the way of their stories.

If nothing changes I expect the editors of Wikipedia to keep on the path of ‘deny, deny, deny’, and to continue with the false and misleading use of the label of hypochondria to describe imaginary symptoms of psychological cause, and to ignore or trivialise the massive amount of scientific evidence which proves real, but undetectable physical causes, where the patients level of concern is completely appropriate and proportional.

Also, instead of them acting like mature and intelligent adults and admitting that their article is biased and wrong,  I expect some of them, such as my two critics, to act out of spite, and try their hardest to discredit me as a person, by defaming my character.

My comments on Wikipedia’s latest definition of hypochondria

The only factual and objective definition of hypochondria is that it is a disease of undetectable cause, but it has more often been described in the past as imaginary symptoms, or in some cases the fear of disease. However, the idea of imaginary cause is a false assumption, and the idea that all patients are anxious about such symptoms simply isn’t true. Nevertheless, I have been interested in this topic for many decades and have never seen any definition from the past 1000 years which describes it as “A preoccupation with presumed deformity or disfigurement (body dysmorphic disorder).

I can only draw the conclusion that it is an utterly ridiculous attempt by some modern authors to discredit The Posture Theory, which I wrote as a sensible explanations for undetectable symptoms.

I cannot see any point in describing how ridiculous that new defintion is, because if people believe it they are too stupid to listen to reason.

This is a quote from Wikipedia about the diagnosis of hypochondria . . . “

The ICD-10 defines hypochondriasis as follows:

A. Either one of the following:

  • A persistent belief, of at least six months’ duration, of the presence of a maximum of two serious physical diseases (of which at least one must be specifically named by the patient).
  • A persistent preoccupation with a presumed deformity or disfigurement (body dysmorphic disorder).

My comments on Wikipedia’s error ridden and misleading page called “Hypochondria (psychosis)”

During the past my symptoms have included severe itching, the sensation of insects crawling over my skin, and the sensation of small insects biting and burrowing into my skin. Those symptoms caused me problems for many years because my doctors were unable to diagnose or treat them effectively.

I therefore studied them myself and treated the itching with calamine lotion and talcum powder, and eventually determined that it was due to an allergy to grass and tree pollens which was later confirmed by a specialist dermatologist who treated it effectively with about a year of desensitisation injections starting at small doses, and gradually increasing them. While I was suffering form that intolerable itching I would often scratch myself, and other people would ask why, so conversations would start, and some told me that they had friends or relatives whose itching was so bad, and so unremitting and frustrating, and so poorly treated, that they actually committed suicide. People who have experienced ordinary itching could be excused for believing that it is a trivial symptom, but they are ignorant of the facts, and have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

I cannot recall the exact cause of the sense of insects crawling on my body but it was a side effect of one of the drugs used to treat my other symptoms and that sensation is reasonably common and is called “formication” which literally means the sense of thousands of ants crawling over the body. The drugs which cause that sensation obviously irritate the millions of nerve endings in the skin.

I also had problems for probably more than a year with the sense of small insects biting me and burrowing into my skin, but my doctor didn’t know the cause, and I couldn’t see anything until one day I purchased a magnifying glass and had a close look to find tiny insects on my body hair. I notices that some of them would occasionally move or jump, and then disappear by burrowing into my skin and leaving a very small red mark which caused annoying inflammation and made me itch all the time, sometimes to the extent that I actually caused my skin to bleed.

I later purchased a pair of tweezers and caught about a dozen of those insects and put them in a small plastic container. I didn’t want to take them to a doctor who would probably think I was strange or mad, so I took them to the local chemist who told me that they were body lice and gave me a bottle of liquid which I spread all over the affected areas while I was having a shower, and more than a year of intense itching was completely cured within about 2 weeks.

Wikipedia’s extremely biased page

which is essentially wrong in most respects, because it almost exclusively attributes those symptoms to psychological factors

The is a link in Wikipedia called “Hypochondria (Psychosis)” which leads to a page called “Delusional parasitises” here, which has this definition . . .

“a form of psychosis whose victims acquire a strongdelusional belief that they are infested with parasites, whereas in reality no such parasites are present.[3] Very often the imaginary parasites are reported as being “bugs” or insects crawling on or under the skin; in these cases the experience of the sensation known as formication may provide the basis for this belief . . .

Details of delusional parasitosis vary among sufferers, but is most commonly described as involving perceived parasites crawling upon or burrowing into the skin, sometimes accompanied by an actual physical sensation (known as formication).[3] Sufferers may injure themselves in attempts to be rid of the “parasites”. Some are able to induce the condition in others through suggestion, in which case the term folie à deux may be applicable.[8][2]

Nearly any marking upon the skin, or small object or particle found on the person or his clothing, can be interpreted as evidence for the parasitic infestation, and sufferers commonly compulsively gather such “evidence” and then present it to medical professionals when seeking help.[3] This presenting of “evidence” is known as “the matchbox sign” because the “evidence” is frequently presented in a small container, such as a matchbox.[2]. (end of quotes from Wikipedia).

Conclusion

Despite what is still being written about hypochondria in modern times, the fact remains, from an intelligent and proper study of medical history, it is utterly ridiculous to assume that undetectable symptoms must be trivial or imaginary or caused by psychological factors.

It is also quite ridiculous to try and manipulate, twist, invent, or force the argument of psychological cause on people who show absolutely no signs of anxiety or depression, etc.

The diagnosis of hypochondriasis has recently been replaced

I recently saw the following comment in Wikipedia about the latest official internationally accepted definitions of disease  . . .

“The newly published DSM-5 replaces the diagnosis of hypochondriasis with illness anxiety disorder.” See here.

This is a quote form Wikipedia about the DCM-5

DSM-5 (formerly known as DSM-V) is the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In the United States the DSM serves as a universal authority for the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders.” (end of quote). See here

When I looked for more information on that topic I found that they had actually updated the list of related conditions to include two new ones which were “Somatic symptom disorder” and “Illness anxiety disorder”.

The reasons for the change were  described  Jeffrey P. Staab, M.D. of the Mayuo Clinic who said . . .

“People who have reasonable health concerns will not get the diagnosis”, and he added . . .

“”By eliminating the concept of medically unexplained symptoms, the DSM-5 criteria prevent the easy assumption of a psychiatric diagnosis in patients who present with medical symptoms of unclear etiology.”

He also says “that thousands of patients were diagnosed with stress ulcers before the discovery of Helicobacter pylori. “There are many examples of false assumptions because we couldn’t identify a medical problem. Now, the whole concept of medically unexplained symptoms is gone. This is a profoundly fundamental change.”

He then adds . . . “”Health anxiety and body vigilance are much more understandable to patients when they realize they can have these things despite what their medical doctor finds . . . and “we found it much easier to engage patients if we identified what the problem was instead of what it was not” (that is an exact copy of my recommendation 30 years ago M.B.) . . .

He goes on to say that it is much better than it was for physicians of the past who never knew how far to search before they had done enough and that now they can acknowledge the patients and that . . .

The change has been long in coming . . . and . . . It has taken two decades of research to redefine hypochondriasis. This is not just something people came up with. But now we can identify these symptoms in a positive way and can help patients modify them.”

The article closes with these words . . .

“Indeed, the new diagnostic criteria allow a different approach to treatment. Most psychiatrists assume that some sort of trauma, tragedy or conflict in the past is driving health-anxious fears and behaviors, Dr. Staab says. “And if we can’t find it, and the patient can’t find it, it can become a speculative wild goose chase for trauma. Trauma is more likely in these patients, but if we don’t find a history of trauma, we can look at stress, and if we don’t find that, we can still talk about exaggerated preoccupations with health and help patients reset and reframe that without digging around in the past.” (end of quotes here)

My comments on the DSM changes

Those changes would have been made because I have spent 38 years proving that most people who have undetectable illness are not imagining things or suffering from mental illness. See here

However, I can also point out that I started studying medicine because my doctor was unable to diagnose my ailments, and every form of treatment was ineffective. In other words out of necessity, and definitely not because I was anxious or depressed or pre-occupied with my health. As they say “A man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do”.

I thought I would solve the problem within a few months, but I wasn’t going to give up that soon if I hadn’t found the answers, and it actually took me many years before I was able to manage all of my symptoms effectively, and then I became involved in other activities. However, the ailments are chronic, so from time to time they would recur, and I would have to determine why myself, because doctors simply didn’t understand the problems. It actually took me 28 years to determine an effective method for preventing and controlling abdominal pain.

Late last year, in November 2013 I discovered than many of my ideas and methods have been copied by some of the best researchers in the world, which should validate them to any reasonable person.

However the new criteria suggest that the patients with undetectable symptoms are either anxious about them or have an “exaggerated preoccupation with health”.

They haven’t included the most obvious criteria which relates to the fact that doctors have been wrong in the past. The same situation exists today, and the only thing a sensible person can do is try to solve the problem themselves, and you simply can’t do that by leaping to conclusions in ten seconds. You  have to study the problems in great detail, and proceed in what ever way you can until you solve it, and just ignore the criticism.

I can also say that I have done a lot more things in the past 38 years than read medical books, and I actually have such a good control of my symptoms nowadays that I decided to stop studying medicine about ten years ago, and sold half of my collection of 300 medical books at that time.

I also spent a lot of my time publishing my observations and ideas to help doctors and patients understand the problems.

I should be given the credit for bringing about the changes in the DSM.  See a summary of my 38 years of research here, and a report on the changes to the DSM which took two decades to develop  here.

West Australian news item about chronic fatigue and exercise from August 22nd 1983

News item from August 22nd 1983 reporting the success of project which I designed and co-ordinated for the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training.

Why did I succeed where others failed

The simple reason for my success is that most researchers had trivialised the problems, and were neglecting them, and were leaving a massive gap in the knowledge of the subject, and the clear opportunity for any one of five billion patients to study those topics. I was a 25 year old educated adult who had been trained in the methods of science, and was not going to suffer and worry and wait for someone else to solve those problems.

Other publications

See also my previous webpage on this topic here

See my ebook called The Posture Theory which provides more than 1000 pages of evidence of physical causes of undetectable ailments here.  I wrote it between 1994 and 2000 after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgekin’s Lymphoma, which is a form of cancer, and was told that I had only two months to live with no hope of a cure. I didn’t worry about the cancer, and wrote the book because I thought it would be useful to society.

 

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