Chronic Stress _ Negative Emotions

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					  Stress is Bad for Blood Sugar                       which point it’s not clear when to start getting the     system to react with a “fight or flight” response
                                                      insulin dose down again… because different               but there is no end to the “emergency” and,
       Control in Diabetics                           parts of the body regain their insulin sensitivity at    therefore, no proper “relaxation” response after-
                                                      different rates… The perfectly balanced system           ward. We stay in a state of heightened sympa-
Increasingly, research is implicating chronic
                                                      is completely upended.” (p.61)                           thetic arousal or, worse still, both our sympathet-
stress and negative emotions such as hostility,
                                                                                                               ic and parasympathetic systems are turned on.
anger and depression as major risk factors in the     Stress, including psychological stress, can thus
                                                                                                               Neither fighting nor fleeing is of any help when
development of a number of degenerative chron-        cause havoc with metabolic control in an insulin-
                                                                                                               the “enemy” is in your own mid.
ic illnesses, including heart disease and di-         dependent diabetic.
abetes.                                                                                                        Frequent or chronic psychosocial stress results
                                                      For the insulin-resistant diabetic (Type II), chron-
                                                                                                               in the development of ongoing feelings of de-
In the case of persons with diabetes, stress can      ic stress is likely an underlying factor in the de-
                                                                                                               pression, anxiety, irritability, anger, and hostility
alter blood glucose levels in a number of ways…       velopment of the condition in the first place and,
                                                                                                               that cause our physiology to remain in a perpe-
                                                      secondly, once you are classified as diabetic,
First, people who are under stress may not take                                                                tual state of hyperarousal and over-reactivity to
                                                      stress can continue to worsen your disease as
good care of themselves. They may not take the                                                                 further stresses— even the many little and large-
                                                      well as make it more difficult to stabilize your
time to plan healthy meals and tend to eat more                                                                ly unavoidable day-to-day hassles of modern
                                                      blood sugar. Again, in the words of Dr. Robert
foods that are high in starch, sugars, carbohy-                                                                living.
                                                      Sapolsky… “Suppose that you are in your sixties,
drates and calories. They may drink more caffei-
                                                      overweight, and just on the edge of insulin-             The research is very clear… Stress and negative
nated beverages or alcohol. They may exercise
                                                      resistance. Along comes a period of chronic              emotions such as anger, hostility, anxiety, fear,
less. They may forget, or not have time, to check
                                                      stress with those stress hormones repeatedly             helplessness, hopelessness, and depression all
their glucose levels as often as they should.
                                                      telling your cells what a great idea it is to be insu-   have similar effects on the body; they activate
Second, stress hormones may also alter blood          lin-resistant. Enough of this and you pass the           the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nerv-
glucose directly. Acute stress causes the release     threshold for becoming overtly diabetic.” (p.62)         ous system (ANS) reducing insulin secretion and
of various stress hormones into the bloodstream                                                                increasing blood glucose levels, heart rate, blood
                                                      Research is clear... a chronically-stressful life-
which temporarily increase the release of glu-                                                                 pressure, and arterial constriction.
cose into the bloodstream from its storage in fat     style or having an exaggerated stress response
cells throughout the body while simultaneously        to the many daily stressors in modern life is as-
blocking insulin secretion from the pancreas.         sociated with less well-controlled diabetes.             OK, Stress is Bad. So, What
Moreover, these stress hormones also act on fat                                                                Can I Do About It?
cells throughout the body to make them less           Modern Stress is Primarily                               The keys to reducing the effects of stress on
sensitive to insulin. Stress promotes insulin re-
                                                      Psychological Stress                                     your health are:
                                                      Our bodies are well-designed to respond to rela-             (1) Learn to recognize what things stress
Increased insulin resistance is bad news for both
                                                      tively short-term physical threats or stressors.                 you.
insulin-dependent (Type I) and insulin-resistant
(Type II) diabetics. As Dr. Robert Sapolsky illu-     When something big and threatening jumps out                 (2) Learn to avoid or reduce your exposure
strates so very clearly in his book, Why Zebras       of the bushes at us, the sympathetic branch of                   to the things that cause you stress
Don’t Get Ulcers… “Why is this bad for someone        our autonomic nervous system is activated and                    where you can.
with insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetes? They        instantly prepares our bodies for “fight or flight”.
                                                                                                                   (3) Learn to be aware of how certain
have everything nice and balanced, with a             Such stressful events are likely to be resolved—
                                                                                                                       thoughts and ways of thinking can in-
healthy diet, a good sensitivity to their body’s      one way or another-- relatively quickly and, once
                                                                                                                       crease your feelings of stress and result
signals as to when a little insulin is needed, and    over, sympathetic activation is shut down and
                                                                                                                       in more negative emotions that are
so on. But throw in some chronic stress, and          the parasympathetic branch of our autonomic
                                                                                                                       stressful in and of themselves.
suddenly the insulin doesn’t work quite as well,      nervous system becomes more active and
                                                      brings us back to a more relaxed and balanced                (4) Learn to reduce your negative thoughts
causing the person to feel terrible until they fig-                                                                    and to think in more positive ways that
ure out that they need to inject more insulin…        state . But such “primitive” stressors are not all
                                                      that common in modern life. Instead, we mostly                   will diminish feelings of depression, an-
which can make cells even more resistant to in-                                                                        xiety, anger and hostility.
sulin, spiraling the insulin requirements up-         face psychosocial and mental stresses that are
ward… until the period of stress is over with, at     not short-term threats. These cause our nervous
    (5) Learn to quickly and easily recognize        His clients encompass a wide age range, from
        your body’s physiological reaction to
                                                     preteens to seniors, with a broad range of health
                                                                                                           Stress Management
    (6) Learn to bring balance back to your au-
        tonomic nervous system through bio-
                                                     Many of the people who come to see Dr. Mueller
                                                     have long-standing psychological or chronic
                                                                                                               for Diabetics
        feedback training of proper physiological
                                                     health pain conditions.
        relaxation—the reduction of both sympa-
        thetic and parasympathetic arousal and       Cost. Psychological and biofeedback therapies
        their balancing.                             are not covered by Alberta Health Care Insur-         Learn to Reduce the Effects
                                                     ance but are frequently covered by private group
Dr. Horst Mueller, RPsych, offers individual
stress management counselling for persons with       or individual extended health care insurance            of Stress and Negative
diabetes or who are at high risk for developing      plans. In certain cases, WCB or motor vehicles
                                                     insurance will pay the costs of psychological
                                                                                                           Emotions on Blood Glucose
glucose intolerance and adult-onset (Type II)
diabetes that combines cognitive-behavioural         treatment. Check with your insurance provider.
therapy with biofeedback training.                   Dr. Mueller offers free initial consultations and a
Dr. Mueller can help you to better manage your       sliding fee scale for uninsured or financially-
chronic health condition.                            strapped individuals.
                                                     For more information, contact…
Who is Dr. Mueller?
Dr. Horst Mueller is an Alberta-registered
psychologist with a special interest in clinical      Dr. Horst H. Mueller
health psychology and applied psychophysiolo-
gy. He is listed with the Canadian Register of       Registered Psychologist
Health Service Providers in Psychology
(CRHSPP) and is certified by the Biofeedback           Private Practice in Clinical                           Balance is Everything
Certification Institute of America (BCIA). He is
also affliated with a number of voluntary profes-
                                                        and Health Psychology
sional associations and societies, including the
Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA), the                                                           Dr. Horst H. Mueller
                                                                                                           Registered Psychologist
Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the
Canadian Pain Society (CPS), the Association
for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
(AAPB), and the International Society for
Neuronal Regulation (ISNR).
                                                                                                            Private Practice in Clinical
Dr. Mueller has over 30 years of experience                                                                  and Health Psychology
working as a clinical psychologist in psychiatric,
general and rehabilitation hospital settings, com-        Green Apple Health Care                            Green Apple Health Care
munity mental health clinics, and private prac-
tice settings treating both children and adults.
                                                         9148-23 Avenue, Suite 221                          9148-23 Avenue, Suite 221
Dr. Mueller’s treatment approach is primarily                      (780) 485-9468                                  Edmonton
cognitive-behavioural and psychophysiological,
emphasizing the complex interconnectedness of         E-mail:
mind and body.                                                                                                 (780) 485-9468