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By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.
“ STRESS THE OTHER KILLER “PART III Epilog
Difficulties in coping are not always a matter of the individual and his or her circumstances. Often, life`s hurdles include dealing with personality conflicts. There are three kinds: Family, marital, or job- related .
All families are a complex network of relationships. Each member has a different relationship with each of the others in the family. Physicians often recommend family therapy when disruption occurs, in which the Patient is the entire family unit and the sessions include the whole family.
When more than one member seems to have serious emotional disorders, or when a pattern of blame has become entrenched, or when an adolescent is particularly rebellious, often problems within a family may be brought to the attention of a professional therapist with a university degree. The therapist does not solve problems for the family but shows families how to understand their problems and how to cope with them more effectively.
Marriage Counselors frequently observe that one of the greatest problems with the couples they treat is that patterns often enter into the relationship regarding unrealistic expectations. Our culture`s romantic view of marriage fosters this tendency. Instead of realizing that they are marrying ordinary human beings with strengths and weaknesses, people tend to idealize their mates and expect nothing short of perfection.
Over the life of a marriage, couples typically face a predictable series of transitions. Consequently, researchers often speak of “different marriages” within a single marriage.
Adjustments to the first child and subsequent changes in life styles, changes in jobs, loss of a spouse´s parents, and changing sexual needs all present problems. If the marriage is to survive, the couple must communicate and resolve inevitable conflicts effectively.
At a time of the conflict in a marriage ,a marriage counselor often can help bring such issues to light so that the couple can deal with current problems in a more mature and not-so-painful way. Other forms to diminish the stress effects may require interaction with people to decrease any sense of social isolation that they may feel. These may include group sports or hobbies, attending social events, meeting with a group of friends, or talking with a good friend. Be particularly careful about using drugs, either prescribed or recreational, as a management technique. Conscious or regular use of drugs to manage stress can be a manifestation of problems with the substances.
Stress is an ongoing and normal part of living. We are constantly called on to adapt to changes within ourselves (such a aging or health circumstances) or in our surroundings (such as a new job, social relationship or family structure.) The reactions to these stressors may be physical or psychological and usually are unpleasant. The fact that they may be unpleasant does not mean that they are abnormal or that they constitute illness.
(Editor’s Note: Dr Cordova lives full time at Lakeside. He is an Internal Medicine & Geriatrics Specialist and Lakeside Chapala Medical College President.)