CENTER ON BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE

BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE

OVERVIEW

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This site has been made possible by those who have graciously allowed me to use their material.

To all of these, I again say “Thank you.”


MIND-BODY


Psychoimmunology

This is the ability of ones emotional state to effect changes in the immune system.



Psychoneuroendocrine

This is the mind’s ability to effect the body through its two control systems: the nervous system and the endocrine system. 

Psychogenic

This is the mind’s ability to create various disease-like states when no real physical disease state exists.
Go to Psychoimmunology Go to Psychoneuroendocrine Go to Psychogenic


BODY-MIND

Behavioral Genetics


These are psychological conditions or traits that appear to be directly related to ones genetic make up.
Essential Nutrients



Various psychological states appear to be directly related to the body’s lack of these essential nutrients.




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Ingested Intolerances and Toxins

Intolerances refer to substances that are generally considered  safe but which can cause an adverse reaction in some.  Toxins are toxic by their very nature.

Environmental Intolerances and Toxins

Intolerances refer to substances that are generally considered  safe but which can cause an adverse reaction in some.  Toxins are toxic by their very nature.
Disease



Certain physical diseases have with their symptomatology mental and emotional states.




Psychosocial Environment


The psychological and social environment of a person can lead to the development of unhealthy mental and emotional conditions.


Go to Behavioral Genetics Go to Essential Nutrients Go to Ingested Intolerances Go to Environmental Intolerances Go to Disease Go to Psychological-Social Environment


ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

Effective Treatments

This focuses on treatments that have been shown to be effective in treating conditions found in  the Mind-Body and Body-Mind  sections.

Diagnostic Testing

Many, though not all, of the conditions found within Behavioral Medicine can be identified by using readily available tests.  Where this is possible, these conditions and tests have been indicated.

Related Papers

These are papers mostly written by doctoral learners related to issues within Behavioral Medicine.

Resources

This section will contain e-books on topics consistent with this site.  The books must be support by research and clinical experience.  Anyone wishing to contribute to this area is encouraged to contact Roy Sumpter, Ph.D.


Go to Effective Treatments Go to Diagnostic Testing Go to Related Papers Under development


SPECULATION

This is the final area of our site.  Up to this point I have tried to include only information that is well documented and based on research or extensive clinical experience. This is why I have included the references cited in each article.  These references demonstrate a knowledge of the subject and the context within which the subject is discussed.

In science there are various steps taken before something becomes established truth.  Generally there is speculation, then hypothesis, theory, and finally truth. (But even “truth” is subject to change.  I was taught that there were nine planets in our solar system and when I first started teaching each person had 48 chromosomes.) 

The journey for truth often begins with speculation.  After reviewing and working with a phenomenon over time, a person may try to put together all of the pieces…or at least those that are known.  They begin to speculate about what might be causing such an event.  Speculation is built upon pieces of the known with reasoned intuition filling in the gaps. 

This is what you will find in this section and why it is called Speculation.

Go to Speculation



Behavioral Medicine attempts to look at the whole person and his or her environment.  It searches for all of the factors influencing the psychological functioning and physical well being of people. 

Each individual is unique.  They come with specific susceptibilities and predispositions.  Behavioral Medicine seeks to uncovering and identifying the mix of environmental, psychological, and physiological factors associated with certain behaviors, emotions, and mental processes.  Only after the etiology of the distress has been identified can corrective and preventative strategies be put into place.

There is a substantial body of research documenting how the mind/emotions can influence the body and its functions; the Mind-Body connection.  Three main areas of research are emerging:

1. Psychoimmunology.  The ability of ones emotional state to effect changes in the immune system has been known for some times.  Research shows that generally positive emotions increase the immune system response.  And, negative emotions generally decrease the effectiveness of the immune system.

2. Psychoneuroendocrine.  This is the study of the mind’s ability to effect the body in ways other than through the immune system to produce a disease state.  A classical illustration is emotional stress and its role in irritable bowel syndrome or tension headaches. 

The body has two control systems:  the nervous system and the endocrine system.  The nervous system coordinates rapid responses. The endocrine system controls slower, longer lasting responses. Activity of both systems is integrated.

3. Psychogenic.  This section deals with the mind’s ability to create various disease-like states.  While the presenting signs and symptoms may mimic an actual disease, no pathology can be found, that is, no real disease state is present.  A common psychogenic reaction is paralysis.  Freud first popularized this concept back in the early 1900s and now research has documented a number of such conditions.

Emerging research documents the Body-Mind connection as well.  This research has given rise to plausible theories of how environmental toxicities and abnormal physiological imbalances can interact to produce both positive and negative mental, behavioral, and physical health states.

1. Behavioral Genetics.  This is an emerging field which seeks to ferret out psychological conditions that appear to be hard-wired.  These are psychological conditions or traits that appear to be directly related to ones DNA and genetic make up.

2. Essential Nutrition.  For several thousand years people have understood that if the body’s need for essential nutrients is not met, disease is likely to follow.  More recently, scientists have identified various psychological states that also appear to be directly related to the body’s lack of these essential elements.  For example, research has demonstrated that a lack in the vitamin B complex will lead to irritability and eventually to a state of dementia.

3. Ingested Intolerances/toxins.  Intolerances refer to substances that are generally considered safe but which can cause an adverse reaction on the part of some individuals.  While most people may have no difficulty with these substances,  others seem to respond to them quite negatively developing all sorts of signs and symptoms.  Aspartame is an artificial sweetener which is used by millions without any side effects.  Yet for some, it causes headaches and hyperactivity.  The ingestion of lead by a small child can cause severe retardation which is non reversible.

Intolerances may also occur when an individual over supplements with certain essential nutrients.   Vitamin A is an essential nutrient.  Some individuals will experience skin changes with a “normal” daily dose.  Furthermore, Vitamin A in very large doses is fatal. 

4. Environmental Intolerances/toxins.  Our environment presents many challenges and assaults…some of which are merely a nuisance while others have very serious consequences.  These are substances that are toxic by nature and the only issue is the amount of exposure and the degree to which one reacts.  Formaldehyde is a chemical found in many areas.  New carpet is a common source and its out-gassing often causing both physical and mental symptoms to those who are sensitive. An office with only florescent lighting may cause some office workers to feel irritable and agitated. 

5. Disease.  Certain diseases have with their symptomatology mental and emotional states.  Those with mitral valve prolapse will often experience panic and/or great anxiety.  A low functioning thyroid can lead to lethargy and disinterest which may be mistaken for depression.  Though we do not always understand why, these symptoms are the direct result of the disease itself and not simply a reaction to the disease.

6. Psychosocial Environment.  The psychological and social environment of a person can lead to the development of unhealthy mental and emotional conditions.

This site attempts to give the reader some insight into the complexity of human behavior. It is a work in progress and is made possible by those who have allowed me to post their research on this site.  This site is not meant to diagnose or treat.  It is my hope, however, that some piece of information might be of help in your journey toward health.


The Author
G. Roy Sumpter

This is a quick biography to introduce myself to you.  I grew up in Seattle where I graduated from Queen Anne High School.  I attend Bob Jones University located in Greenville, SC.  I earned my B.A. in Bible with a minor in Social Studies.

Following my undergraduate education, I served as an associate director for a Youth for Christ program in Florida.  One of my responsibilities was working with boys who had run afoul of the law.  We developed a summer wilderness program and provided year-round counseling both within the jail system and the local community.  This experience eventually led me to Florida State University for graduate work.

My Masters was in the area of criminology.  My Ph.D. was in developmental psychology.   Both my thesis and dissertation dealt with the youthful offender (adults ages 18 - 25).

Following graduation I went into the university system where I taught, directed research projects/centers, and served administratively for a number of years. 

While teaching I began to plan and develop a residential program for male youth with behavioral problems.  As the project began to take form, I resigned my position at the university to direct this program full time.  It was here that I began to experience the relationship between the mind and body and how things as simple as diet can have a profound influence upon behavior.  

From this experience I sought out academic programs that would help me gain a foundation in what has eventually become known as Behavioral Medicine. 

I attended Bastyr University (Seattle) where I graduated with a medical degree in naturopathic medicine, N.M.D.

Following graduation, I opened a family practice (The Family Health Clinic) in Asheville, NC. 

I eventually returned to full time teaching and research and I served as a
professor of psychology and head of the division of behavioral sciences. 

I now live in North Carolina
where I write, have served as editor for a national professional publication and state newsletter, do medical consulting, serve as an expert witness on behalf of the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disabilities, Adjudication, and Review, serve on accreditation teams doing site visits, and teach graduate courses in the area of behavioral medicine.  Oh yes, and try to develop an effective website on Behavioral Medicine.