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Old 05-02-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
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Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

Okay I have heard from some people that it is true that if you think about a disease long enough that you will eventually acquire it. But their reasoning was because the brain eventually will tell the body to make the disease somehow. But I have also heard from people that it is impossible that it is all in your head. Now I have constantly been worried that I have a fatal insomnia...one that you don't have to inherit to acquire - sporadic fatal insomnia. Now my insomnia has been with me for around 2 years now and last night it was awful. It was about 11:30 at night and I was starting to doze off to sleep when I woke back up after about 20 minutes. Then after that I couldn't fall asleep until 3:30 am. And whenever I would try and fall asleep my heart would race and I would have shallow breathing and feel a little sweaty and when I would start to doze off to sleep again my body would just wake right back up again, which I heard are some symptoms of the fatal insomnia. I have never had insomnia like that before. And I have been to the doctor and they say it's all in my head. But I also heard that someone in california had this happen and that's what the doctor said to them. I'm 18 years old and I need help really bad! Thank you.

 
Old 05-02-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

Short answer: no you cannot acquire a disease by thinking about it. But you can produce psychosomatic symptoms in yourself, but that is a very rare thing. If you have been to the Dr and they say that you are physically fine but "that it's all in your head" they most likely mean that you may have a health anxiety problem instead. Check out the anxiety board. Also, you might want to see a sleep specialist.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:28 AM   #3
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

That's good to know. I just can't seem to get this out of my head ever. I think the only way I will no longer think about this is if I go and get tested for it. And to do that I would need genetic testing or something like that. I just get really scared about it because it's something really serious and can happen out of nowhere.

 
Old 05-12-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

You can't give yourself a disease just by worrying about it... but you can sure make yourself THINK that you've got it! Every little thing seems magnified the more you focus on it, and if you were excessively worried about say, weak nails being a sign of lymphoma (they're not, I made it up), you'd be ready to die every time you broke a fingernail. Or a trace of nausea from post-nasal drip becomes stomach cancer. And so on. Your racing heart, trouble falling asleep etc are basic anxiety symptoms. Anxiety raises your adrenalin, which makes your heart beat faster, which revs you up and gets you ready for 'fight or flight' NOT restfully sleeping. Reassure yourself that you do not have this disease (if necessary visit your doctor just to make sure), and you'll sleep a lot better.

 
Old 05-13-2012, 01:38 AM   #5
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

i agree with the others, you cannot get a disease from thinking about it too much.

I also agree that anxiety is likely behind your symptoms. Anxiety can lead to a wide variety of symptoms that can seem very real.I have personally never heard of fatal insomnia, but certainly loosing sleep on a regular basis can lead to many performance problems during the day which can be both dangerous ( as in falling asleep at the wheel or on a job).

I would start by keeping a sleep log every night. Using good sleep habits are also important, and can be very helpful in training yourself to sleep more restfully. There is lots of good information available on the web, but I can offer you a few ideas here.

Go to bed and wake at the same time every night. Create a routine near bedtime that is both relaxing and regular,. For example, a warm bath or shower before bed can be relaxing, reading, or some TV. Do not fall asleep to the TV though. Do not eat or drink for several hours before bed. keep your roon at a comfortable temperature, not to hot or cold.

Clear your mind before bed. Allow your problems or stresses disappear until tomorrow before trying to sleep. You might want to repeat a positive mantra of some kind to clear your mind every night. You can find a passage you like or that inspires positive thoughts in your mind every night.

Much of what you will need to do is to re train your self to tune the negative thought out of your mind at bed time. remind yourself of how lucky you are to be alive with your whole life ahead of you. Count your blessings, and even make a list of all you are thankful for. Focus on all that is positive in your world, we all have so much to be grateful for, and often forget to recognize it.

Do not allow these thoughts to take over your mind without a battle. If you find you cannot manage to free your mind of these thoughts, then see a counselor or a doctor for help.

 
Old 05-13-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

"my heart would race and I would have shallow breathing and feel a little sweaty and when I would start to doze off to sleep again my body would just wake right back up again, which I heard are some symptoms of the fatal insomnia."

You've just described anxiety and panic which is what happens if you keep telling yourself you have an fatal illness. When you wake up like this, don't try to fall straight back to sleep, the best thing to do is calm yourself down, breath slowly, let your mind and heart rate settle and bring your anxiety level down, once you feel more relaxed then try to go back to sleep, or you'll keep waking up the same way again. It's what happens when you fall alsleep in an anxious state, and if you keep worrying about having this fatal insomnia then your mind is too anxious and not ready for sleep.

 
Old 06-05-2012, 09:23 AM   #7
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

The rest are correct, acquiring a disease by thinking about it is not possible. However, the symptoms of a mentally induced disease can be very real and very dangerous. Insomnia is not likely something that can kill you, but it can have terrible effects on the rest of your life...which can often lead to dangerous outcomes. Everyone else is correct in saying try to relax, trust your doctor, and you'll be fine.

 
Old 06-05-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

No, it's not true. Our minds are powerful, but not that much.

 
Old 06-25-2012, 10:10 PM   #9
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Re: Is it true that you can get a disease if you think about it?

If you could, then neuro-oncologists would all get brain cancer. :-) Illnesses often have a complicated origin. Infections are easy to sort out, usually, but many of the rest are a result of genes, environment, and time. Just worrying about them isn't going to cause them.

Anxiety has physical effects of its own, though. So worrying about a certain disease won't give you it, but worry itself is an issue.

 
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