ENVIRONMENT

For thousands of years, physicians have known that their patients often improved when they moved them into a safe and comfortable environment. The first institutions for the mentally unstable founded by the Quakers were based on the idea that these troubled people were to be placed in locations where they were given access to the outdoors, had clean rooms, clean and normal clothes, good food, and were treated with respect. Not surprisingly, many people who came to these facilities were able to return to their homes and function normally after a relatively short time.

Many times when a patient is experiencing health problems it is useful for the patient to look at their environment for things that are stressful. Sometimes, if it is believed that some of the stress is coming from association with a person, simply moving away from that person will help the patient recover more rapidly.

Other times, moving to a new residence or spending time in a different physical location has increased the speed of a patient’s recovery.

EDUCATION

It is natural to fear the unknown. If we know more about what will happen if we do something, then it will be easier. When confronted with a medical procedure, if we don’t know how something is going to feel or what is going to happen, most of us will imagine all kinds of things—most of them unpleasant.

It is important that a patient understand that physiological conditions can cause the symptoms they are experiencing and that there are blood tests that will establish if this is the case. The patient also needs to understand that if there is a physiological condition, like an endocrine problem, the symptoms may continue while the actual cause is treated. The symptoms should decrease and, if the problem is dehydration, the symptoms may lessen or even disappear after the first few treatments.

Through education, the patient will be able to actively assist in their own recovery.