Why is it harder for some people to recover from stress-related illness than others?

Photo of clouds shows how using the Dr. Sarno method alleviates unexplained chronic pain and other physical symptoms.

Dr. David Clarke notes there is a very wide range of speeds with which people recover from stress-related illness.

One of his patients recovered in an hour. Another patient still had symptoms after going to therapy on a regular basis for 20 years. She wasn’t taking narcotics and she wasn’t being hospitalized anymore, but she was still having symptoms.

What accounts for such a wide spectrum of recovery time? Dr. Clarke says it has to do with the severity of the stress that someone is subject to and at what age the stresses occurred.

Was there any offsetting support the person received when they were experiencing the stress, particularly as a child? People differ with respect to how resilient they are in coping with stress.

Much of stress-related illness is linked to repressed emotions. People’s ability to be in touch with their emotional reactions differ widely.

Recognizing and bringing repressed emotions into conscious awareness is a skill that differs from person to person.

But Dr. Clarke says even people who are going to take a very long time to make a full recovery, they can tell that they’re on the pathway. They can tell that they are moving in the right direction.

Often it has been a long road for them just to find out what they need to do to get better. But once they do find that out, once they do recognize that they’re on the correct pathway, the anxiety and fear that people are losing their minds about this symptom, that tends to go away.

They can see that there is a way to move forward. That makes a huge difference.