Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Pre-Surgical Examination; Surgical Candidacy

pre-surgicalIn the process of pre-surgical examination, there lies a grave danger that we label every human condition or disorder a “disease” and then treat it as if it were.

It is a current “fashion” to see everything as a disease and every patient as the victim of that disease.

Therefore, adults are not merely inattentive, they have ADHD.

They are not conflicted about their relationship, they have erectile dysfunction.

They are not unmotivated, they have chronic fatigue syndrome.

They are not irresponsible, they have an addictive disease.

See the danger? Then we treat them as victims. Pre-surgical problems of living become “disorders.”

Depressed patients are treated as though they simply have a chemical imbalance in their brain. It has gotten to the point where the patient is not asked questions beyond whether they have had a change in appetite and are sleeping poorly. Once we establish that they are depressed, we assume that it is a chemical imbalance, a disease and we probe no deeper.

We then treat it as a disease, over-medicate them, and may them dependent rather than determining what they need in order to cope with their lives. And we do not look for the mistakes that they are making in managing their lives.

This financially meets the needs of whoever is treating the patient as though this were a biological/chemical problem – charging for return and very brief visits just for medication refills and endless therapies without ever getting to the bottom line “the source of the problem.”

I cannot begin to count the number of pre-surgical patients I have seen who have been in “treatment for years”, treated with a cabinet full of medications, with the true problems never addressed.

Indeed, with this solely biological/disease model, there is no underlying problem. Since it is a “chemical imbalance,” nothing else matters.

Here’s the contradiction: If it is a chemical imbalance “a disease”then how is the injury related to it at all?

And if it is truly a biological rather than a psychological problem, then there are biological “damages.”

It is all unnecessarily complex.

Sometimes it is, indeed, the illness or injury which triggered the depression, but just as often, it is longstanding resentment of the employer, boredom with the marriage, worry over the children and endless financial concern that gave rise to feelings of helplessness and resentment. The “chemical imbalance” is the result…not the cause.

Pills may help with the symptoms, but they do not resolve the underlying emotional problems that persist and lie in wait.

The Legal Nurse

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