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Ch. 14: Health Psychology

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (30)

-HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) = destroys the body's ability to fight infection and some types of cancer

-early symptoms of HIV infection include fever, headache, and fatigue. These symptoms generally disappear after a short time and may not return in chronic or severe form for as long as 10 years , this virus however continues to grow in the body

-AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is diagnosed when HIV-infected persons have a particularly low number of T-cells or when one of 26 clinical conditions appears as a result of opportunistic infections, those that usually do not cause disease in healthy persons

-first case of AIDS in the U.S. was diagnosed in 1981. At least more than one million people in the U.S. and 33 million worldwide are living w/ HIV/AIDS at the present moment

-HIV is spread thru unprotected sex, contact w/ infected blood, sharing needles, and from mother to child.

-individuals w/ other sexually transmitted diseases are more susceptible to HIV infection.

-unfortunately, risk behaviors are still common and are influenced by mood, cultural values, social pressure, and modeling

-people w/ HIV face many challenges including gradual deterioration of health and cognitive abilities, loss of employment, and other factors

-Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are common

-social support is important since it helps the patient adjust to the disease and obtain appropriate treatment

-a number of medications are available to slow HIV progression and reduce AIDS-related deaths. The drugs are expensive and have significant side effects. Adhering to the drug regiments is difficult
-cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., followed by heart disease

-cancer rates have declined n recent years, probably as a result of decreased smoking and improved treatments, more than half a million people die from this disease.

-although genetic factors play a role in the development of many kinds of cancer, some behavioral and lifestyle are also important

-unhealthy behavior such as sun exposure, smoking, alcohol use, and fatty diet are also linked w/ increased cancer risk

-depression, pessimism, negative expectations, and an avoiding coping style are associated w/ more rapid disease progression

-increased stress and reduced social support are associated w/ more rapid physical deterioration and increased rates of recurrence

-stress and reduced social support affect natural killer cell activity, decreases the body's ability to fight virus and tumor growth

-adjustment to cancer as a chronic illness is an important issue
>patients w/ caner deal with many significant challenges including fatigue, physical limitations and pain, decreased immune fxn. , and increased susceptibility to other infections, body image difficulties, and prostheses

-interpersonal support is important especially from spouse/partner. Good marital adjustment predicts less distress from the diagnosis.

-optimism, active coping, feelings of control, and finding meaning in life also enhance adjustments and, in some cases, improve immune fxning and physical health

-Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), supportive treatments, and exercise programs improve adjustment and coping for patients and their partners
-*pain disorder is diagnosed when a patient's primary complaint is persistent pain that occurs w/o sufficient medical explanation.
>chronic back pain is the most common cause of disability in
the U.S.
>about 85% of people have back pain at some point in their
>arthritis pain and chronic headaches affect millions of other

-pain can be an indication that something is wrong with the body. Pain is also a source of disability, reducing productivity

-acute pain = lasting less than 6 months
-chronic pain= lasting longer than 6 months. Some chronic pains get worse w/ time (RA)

-people in pain are maybe unable to do things they used to enjoy, have decreased feelings of control, and worry about what will happen if the pain gets worse

-women are usually more sensitive to pain compared to men

-goals of pain treatment:
>eliminate pain
>reduce pain
>improve fxn. in the face of some pain

-treatment includes both medical (medication, surgery) and non-medical (psychological) approaches
>medication is most often used
>most popular medication = morphine , altho this and other
analgesic meds in the opioid family (codeine,
hydrocodone, oxycodone) can cause dependence

-antidepressants can cause anxiety and depression and act on neutral pathways that relay pain information.

-non-medical treatments for pain include relaxation training, biofeedback, and hypnosis

-biofeedback = patients learn to modify physical responses (HR, respiration, body temp)

-hypnosis = patients are taught to relax; a trance-like state is induced and hypnotic suggestions are used to reduce pain and change pain-related thoughts


-cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT) that involve relaxation, imagery, cognitive therapy (changing thoughts on pain), and behavioral changes can be useful.

-typically more medical and non-medical strategies are integrated into a pain management program and its individually tailored for a patient's needs.
-people w/ chronic illness (HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, etc.) experience many changes including decreased physical capacity, altered relationships w/ family and friends, financial strain, and high rates of anxiety and depression

-good social support can improve disease outcomes
-stress and negative beliefs about the disease and oneself predict poor outcomes
>thus, health psychologists encourage patients to seek
social support and provide education and support to the
family members. This improves everyone's adjustment!

-some patients and families also benefit from formal support groups that provide emotional support and information about ways that others have coped successfully

-coping w/ medical illnesses is similar to coping w/ other stressful experiences, in may ways suggesting that stress management can be useful

-learning about the disease (progression, treatment) and identifying potential stressors are important first steps

-relaxation and exercise can also improve adjustment

-health psychologists can help patients integrate long-term medical care into their lives

-behavior and thoughts can encourage feelings of control over illness can be helpful

-self-efficacy or confidence can affect health behaviors
>increased feelings of self efficacy and control are
associated w/ good adjustments to illnesses
>treatment that increases confidence and control can
help people adjust to chronic diseases

-health psychologists can help patients identify positive outcomes associated w/ their disease and positive ways o use their experiences to help others