The Relationship Between Hepatitis C and Crying
Whoever proclaims that real men don’t cry has a lot to learn about the human condition. Shedding tears involves a complex combination of physical and emotional mechanisms. Sometimes, incessant crying can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. However, crying often serves a specific role to our biological and psychological wellness. In fact, having a good cry can actually be healthful for those living with chronic Hepatitis C.
Most of us have experienced a good cry – an event marked by feeling better and having gained an improved perspective on our current situation. Published in the December 2008 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, University of South Florida psychologists Jonathan Rottenberg and Lauren M. Bylsma, along with their colleague Ad J.J.M. Vingerhoets of Tilburg University investigated the psychology of crying.
Upon analyzing accounts of over 3,000 crying episodes, these psychologists found that the majority of respondents reported improvements in their mood following a bout of crying. Their research also demonstrated that the potential benefits depend on who is crying. Those who do not seem to benefit from crying, include:
- Individuals with anxiety or mood disorders
- Those suffering from depression
- People who lack insight into their emotional lives (a condition known as alexithymia). Researchers hypothesize that these individuals lack the emotional insight required for a cognitive change that would transform a negative perspective into a positive one.
Besides those who are not in touch with their feelings, some with Hepatitis C have reason to be concerned about a crying habit. This is because coping with Hepatitis C and its treatment can be associated with depression. When crying interferes with daily life, clinical depression could be the culprit. People who are depressed have most or all of the following symptoms nearly every day, all day, for two or more weeks:
- Feeling sad, hopeless and having frequent crying spells
- Losing interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy (including sex)
- Feeling guilty, helpless or worthless
- Thinking about death or suicide
- Sleeping too much, or having problems sleeping
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss or gain
- Feeling very tired all the time
- Having trouble paying attention and making decisions
- Having aches and pains that don’t get better with treatment
- Feeling restless, irritated and easily annoyed
If depression is at the root of your crying, you must talk to your doctor for help. Physicians have access to a variety of ways to help someone with depression.
Besides those with alexithymia or depression, some of the ways someone with Hepatitis C can benefit from sobbing, include:
- Immune Assistance – Tears contain lysozymes, a virus and bacteria killing substance. Since the last thing someone with Hepatitis C needs is an additional pathogen to fight, shedding tears is almost like excreting a mini defense shield on your face.
- Toxin Removal – Crying is not the most efficient means for ridding the body of toxins. However, tears may assist the liver in detoxification because they are believed to be a way of escorting toxins out of the body. Those with chronic Hepatitis C are encouraged to utilize all routes to aid detoxification in an effort to relieve some of the liver’s burden.
- Stress Reduction – Stress can worsen many health problems, including Hepatitis C. Suppressing tears is known to increase stress levels. Shedding tears has documented calming effects that include a slower breathing rate. Thus, a good cry is a sound approach for stress relief.
- Emotional Release – Managing chronic Hepatitis C can cause an accumulation of stress. From a Traditional Chinese Medical perspective, unreleased stressors impede the flow of blood (and energy) throughout the liver. Because crying is a physical means to release emotional stress, it helps restore liver circulation, a bonus for livers fighting the Hepatitis C virus.
Crying is a natural physiological mechanism. As long as depression, anxiety, mood disorders or a lack of insight into your emotions is not applicable, weeping serves a valuable purpose, especially to those with Hepatitis C. So the next time a pit of emotion forms in the base of your throat, don’t try to restrain it. Since allowing yourself to cry aids the immune system, removes toxins, relieves stress and releases constrained emotions – sobbing should be prized for its healthfulness to a liver battling Hepatitis C.
http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/infections/hepatitis/071.html, Hepatitis C, Retrieved January 3, 2010, American Academy of Family Physicians, 2010.
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-reasons-why-crying-is-good-for-you.html, 7 Reasons Why Crying Is Good for You, Therese Borchar, Retrieved January 1, 2010, DivineCaroline, Care2.com, Inc, 2010.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/133552.php, The Psychology Of Crying, Retrieved January 3, 2010, MediLexicon International, Ltd., 2010.