The Social Individual

Dr. Tony NSA 1 Comment

This past 18 months has been a roller coaster ride no matter who you are. And it continues to be our biggest challenge as well as our biggest opportunity.

If it wasn’t before, it is evident to most people that we are social beings and that if we are not social, we can negatively affect our state of health. Social distancing and isolation may flatten the curve (and in my opinion extend it) however it can also lead to many deleterious affects on individuals and society as we are now seeing unfortunately.

Much of modern healthcare is based on certain biomedical myths. One such myth is that every disease or illness can be traced to a physical cause. What follows is treatment protocols, medications, and policies that only consider reality from this limited perspective.

There are growing bodies of research showing the connection between things such as PTSD and risk of ovarian cancer, social isolation and higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

So how can we look at these various conditions and diseases and say that they are medical health problems? How can they not also be social problems that are causing individual physical illness at the same time?

There is however a turning away happening, from this narrow medical perspective to a more inclusive bio-psycho-social perspective.

Consider the work of Dr. Dan Segal called interpersonal neurobiology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP9bT6xfhNE. Our brains and nervous systems are connected to one another. If we can affect each other’s neurology then we can affect each other’s biology.

If the current social crisis has shown us anything, it’s that we can mobilize on a global scale. What if governments, medical schools and hospitals were to adopt this bio-psycho-social perspective globally en masse?

Yes, protocols and policies would have to change. So would the insurance industry. Okay, many things would have to change. Global change is achievable. It just takes, in the case of the past 18 months, a lot of fear.

I think it’s worth it especially if we want to head off future pandemics. If our health and immune function rises and falls with the tide of psycho-social stresses, then it’s in everyone’s interest to work towards adopting this new paradigm.

A vaccine policy or drug treatment is only going to prolong the old paradigm that every disease and illness can be traced to a physical cause.

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