Talking Allergies

yes, they think we're hysterical
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Helen [ Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  yes, they think we're hysterical

In another thread, ... 0&start=15 Pamela Lee wrote:
Too often, people with allergies are seen as hysterical hypochondriacs who are just looking for attention
I agree! This really bothers me.

See ... orter.html
Edward Shorter is a well respected historian of medicine and a prof. at U of T. I took a quick look at his book (but did not read it thoroughly)---he doesn't really talk about allergies in the book (they are mentioned in passing as I recall). But he does address allergies in the followng interview (excerpts below):

SHORTER: Historically, you can see how the patterns form. Concern about sensitivity to peanut butter, for example, used to be confined to upper middle class neighborhoods. Now it's epidemic. Same thing with multiple chemical sensitivities.

STAY FREE!: But this in itself doesn't necessarily mean it's psychosomatic, does it? It could be that uneducated people are less likely to identify health problems or less likely to visit the doctor.

SHORTER: But the evidence is clear that multiple chemical sensitivities are psychosomatic. These are not organic problems.

STAY FREE!: There are, however, people who are actually allergic to peanuts.

SHORTER: Yes, there is such a thing as peanut allergies, but that doesn't mean that everyone with the diagnosis has them. Peanut allergies are rare, but today it's hard to find a fourth-grade class without a couple of kids who are thought to have them. It's become an object of epidemic hysteria.

STAY FREE!: What's the difference between a real peanut allergy and a fake one? How does the patient's experience differ?

SHORTER: With a fake peanut allergy, it's the parents who have the symptoms--anxiety, unrealistic attributions of illness to banal symptoms in their children. In a real peanut allergy, the child is highly symptomatic.

my comment: :x or :evil: or :twisted:

Author:  yakkie [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:52 am ]
Post subject: 

One thing at least has changed. Mr. Shorter should no longer consider himself well-respected. :evil:

Author:  Mylène [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:27 pm ]
Post subject: 




(don't think I can answer that one and stay polite...)

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

It's that last line that really gets me. :shock:

Is he saying that parents of kids with *real* allergies don't suffer anxiety as a result of it?

And, also, not ALL peanut allergies cause life-threatening reactions. Some people do just suffer hives. But, when it's your child, should you just assume it will always be just hives?


I've been called hysterical by people better then him. :?

Author:  _Susan_ [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

I think he makes a mistake when he speaks of diagnosed allergies as being in the heads of the parents.
Yes, there is such a thing as peanut allergies, but that doesn't mean that everyone with the diagnosis has them. Peanut allergies are rare, but today it's hard to find a fourth-grade class without a couple of kids who are thought to have them. It's become an object of epidemic hysteria.

In order to be diagnosed, a Dr has to test you and evaluate the results. It would mean the Dr is the one
who have the symptoms--anxiety, unrealistic attributions of illness to banal symptoms in their children. In a real peanut allergy, the child is highly symptomatic.
The parents are simply trying to keep their child safe as best as they can.

Author:  Mylène [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

If there is a relationship between having hysterical parents and the severity of allergies... well, at least I feel better as according to him I have REAL allergies :twisted:: I got symptoms and my parents care when they think it's convinient ;)

Author:  KarenOASG [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

I had the same reaction (no pun intended) that Susan had: a peanut allergy is diagnosed by an allergist, and then the FA individual or parents of the FA child follows the specialist's instructions about how to stay safe. We don't simply wake up one day and say, "Gee, I think I have a peanut (or whatever) allergy."

I don't think this guy is worth our time, frankly. Life is too short.

To quote Bugs Bunny:

"What a maroon!"


Author:  Nicole [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Who is this yahoo?

Whoever he is, (I have never heard of him) he is obviously not very qualified to talk about this subject, so he should just be dismissed.

It's like those chiropractors who claim they can cure anything with an adjustment!

Author:  Jules Grimm [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:40 am ]
Post subject: 

I've never heard of this guy, but then i havent really done a lot of research into this area. I feel that he may have a valid point, but only for a minor group. Some parents can be overly obsessive about their children's health, but that comes with being a parent as far as i know. It can be this fussing that can sometimes create a psychosomatic response within the child, but as far as i am aware this group is by far the minority of children who suffer.

This man may have a point in a small selection of cases, but for the most part he seems to be almost demeaning the love a parent has for their child and thier care about the health and welfare of that child. I imagine that he might have a different reaction if he was the father of a child with allergies.

My sister has recently become violently allergic to shellfish and fish - to the point where she had to have a shot of adrenaline to the heart - and even though she is grown up and lives on her own my mother still worries greatly about the allergy and its affects on her so i imagine that the parents of a small child must go through far greater agonies about their child.

Author:  Helen [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

My reaction is the same as everyone else's, but this person is a very prominent historian of medicine (one of U of T's stars)---which doesn't necessarily mean that he has a medical degree (in fact he doesn't--he has a PhD). He teaches in the department of history, but he was also appointed as a professor of psychiatry.

I thought his comments were revealing because they reflect common attitudes and assumptions not only about allergies but about attitudes towards claims about illness. I'm not certain about this, but from what I've seen the tendency to label people as hypochondriacs is culturally-specific (i.e. specific to our culture.)
A lot of people in the medical profession (this person isn't a medical doctor, but he speaks as an authority on the history of medicine) are very quick to dismiss things as psychosomatic---and allergies fall within the category of illnesses which are often associated with anxiety, etc. I wonder if this is one of the reasons why family doctors don't always deal so well with allergies. At least medical authority is on our side with food allergies---Dr. Shorter's comments on multiple chemical sensitivities and chronic fatigue would be more damaging to people with these conditions because doctors can be *very* skeptical.

He is quick to label people as being prone to "hysteria" (which is a gender-loaded word I don't like to use unless in quotation marks.) And obviously he isn't well informed about the dramatic rise in the incident of allergy. No one seems to comment on this, but there is also a dramatic rise in the incident of cancer. And oncologists know that a certain percentage of cancers are caused by toxins in the environment. (Did anyone see Wendy Mesley's documentary on CBC's Marketplace several weeks ago?) There is definitely something going on with the environment! But I digress....

I know so many people whose health concerns get dismissed----the worst case I heard was when my sister's best friend from highschool went to her doctor complaining about severe pain--the doctor told her not to worry-- she was fine, and it was all in her head (he literally said that). Turns out she had cancer (and, no, she did not survive). I think that women are more likely to find that they are labelled as being prone to psychosomatic illnesses because of gender bias---Dr. Shorter I notice believes that women are prone to hysteria.

Author:  Nicole [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

It seems to me that he only looks at things from a sociological point of view and a very narrow point of view at that. He talks like doctors from the 18th-19th century, when there was a vast lack of knowledge about a lot of diseases, and they use to bleed people and put leeches on them, because they didn't know what else to do!

Hysteria indeed! As if parents would make up something like that! He makes it sound as if parents want attention from this. Believe me, if I had a choice, I would want the allergy to go away. I can live without this kind of attention.

And Lisa, I too believe that the state of our environment plays a major role in our health and the increase in cancers and allergies.

Author:  aaronsmom [ Wed Apr 05, 2006 1:05 am ]
Post subject: 

Hey, we should start a new topic for all the people with "fake" peanut allergies; they can pass along tips for the best color to draw hives with markers and how to cause their their lips to swell by biting them, "I carry an onion with me at all times so I can tear up at will, I tell people it's ragweed allergy, I sure do get a lot of attention that way". :roll: :roll: Can you imagine that anyone would think that there would be "wannabe's" for this, Are there mass amounts of people faking cancer or other ailments? Would Dr.'s get away with suggesting there are?

Pow, to the moon!!

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 4 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group