Unexpressed anger leads to panic attacks and heart disease?

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miriam
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Unexpressed anger leads to panic attacks and heart disease?

Post by miriam » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:02 pm

Elizabeth Wilde McCormack in her book "Change for the Better, self-help through practical psychotherapy" seems to claim that most of panic and a large proportion of heart disease is down to unexpressed anger. On page 44 in bold text she writes:

"unresolved and buried anger is very often under depression, it is the underlying cause of most panic attacks, it is now a recognised risk factor in the psychosocial causes of heart disease and can also initiate many physical responses represented in stress-related disorders"

There is also an anecdote about working with a 'ground breaking cardiologist' who would challenge his patients with statements such as "do you not love your wife enough to be angry with her?"

Is there any evidence for these claims? If so, why haven't I heard it before? I wondered if she was rather esoteric, or if I had fallen asleep in the same bit of all my teaching and missed it...
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Post by russ » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:22 pm

It's rather an analytic position, which of course, would lend itself differently to a modern idea of 'evidence'.
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Post by Dr.Dot » Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:16 pm

From another position, I am just wondering if the old 'Type A' personality has any association with unresolved anger. Very stressy and prone to heart disease, soemthing must be giving them power...somewhat of a measurable mediator perhaps?
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Post by baa » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:07 pm

That's a rather sweeping statement she's made! Does she back it up with anything (though it's a self help book, so there's often no references)?

Anger isn't focused on in any of the treatment trials that show long term success. Unless I have missed some.
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Post by Peyman » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:30 am

I certainly believe that unexpressed anger leads to lots of emotional problems and affects relationships with others. I believe too that it will lead to panic attacks and anxiety and probably even depression.
But whether it has any links to heart disease, I couldn't comment.

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Post by joanner » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:15 am

I think Elizabeth W-M is probably a bit too confident in the wording of her statement. Had she backed it up with evidence or phrased it more tentatively, then it might have held more weight. I'm not aware of any published evidence for her hypothesis and it wasn't mentioned during my teaching on heart problems.

I'm reading an interesting book at the moment called 'Why do people get ill?' by Darian Leader and David Corfield (2007). It comes from an analytic background but contains a lot of food for thought. It does emphasise just how complex the mind-body links are and how you can only reach a hypothesis through a detailed examination of each client's circumstances and history. They propose that there can be both conscious and unconscious reasons for a variety of illness, as well as organic causes. I'm finding it a very thought-provoking read.
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Post by baa » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:19 pm

I'd be very wary about recommending that to a patient, since she's stating a link (even indirectly through anger) between panic attacks and heart disease. A bit counterproductive for me :))
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Post by Ruthie » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:51 pm

baa wrote:I'd be very wary about recommending that to a patient, since she's stating a link (even indirectly through anger) between panic attacks and heart disease. A bit counterproductive for me :))
Quite - it could lead to a whole host of catastrophic misinterpretations about anger!

We can all have our opinions, but I think it is very important not to fall in love with our hypotheses without appropriate levels of evidence to back them up - particularly when there are solid psychological models and therapies for issues like panic and depression that have a very good empirical basis.

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baa
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Post by baa » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:54 pm

Sorry, today I am posting in chunks :lol:

Even if it doesn't spell out a direct link, ambiguous info tends to be interpreted as DOOM by peeps with panic disorder.
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Re: Unexpressed anger leads to panic attacks and heart disea

Post by _Dasein_ » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:31 pm

miriam wrote:
"unresolved and buried anger is very often under depression, it is the underlying cause of most panic attacks..."

Is there any evidence for these claims? If so, why haven't I heard it before? I wondered if she was rather esoteric, or if I had fallen asleep in the same bit of all my teaching and missed it...
Panic Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy focuses on the role of unconscious, repressed or dissociated anger in panic disorder. I believe there is an evidence base for this approach too.

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display ... 68/1147526

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Post by joanner » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:59 pm

baa wrote:I'd be very wary about recommending that to a patient, since she's stating a link (even indirectly through anger) between panic attacks and heart disease. A bit counterproductive for me :))
Sorry, were you talking about being wary about recommending the Leader book that I mentioned to a client? If so, I wasn't suggesting that at all. I was saying it was an interesting read for therapists who are interested in possible mind-body links rather than anything else!
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Post by eponymous85 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:16 pm

joanner wrote:
baa wrote:I'd be very wary about recommending that to a patient, since she's stating a link (even indirectly through anger) between panic attacks and heart disease. A bit counterproductive for me :))
Sorry, were you talking about being wary about recommending the Leader book that I mentioned to a client? If so, I wasn't suggesting that at all. I was saying it was an interesting read for therapists who are interested in possible mind-body links rather than anything else!
I think baa was referring to the book in the OP
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Post by joanner » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:17 pm

Just checking! It came directly after my post and I wanted to be clear as the Leader book is quite heavy going!
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baa
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Post by baa » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:44 pm

Yeah, I was referring to the self-help book in the OP! There was a study on self-help books recently, I really should find it. Some are dodgy was the conclusion.
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Post by HayleyT » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:01 am

I would agree that some of the statements are too bold in this book and should at least refer to some evidence but I also really like this book!

I think it could be really helpful to some people, I think I would just think carefully about who I recomended it to, there are worse things people can read on the internet that would claim links between panic and heart disease etc. The book would be really helpful for people with a relationship component to their difficulties, which many self help books don't addresse, but then I really like CAT.

I think there are plently of dodgy self help books, but some shouldn't just be dismissed because of one statement

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