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Many people believe that chemical sensitivity is a psychiatric disorder. They claim that it is erroneous to think that the symptoms experienced are caused by exposure to toxic chemicals found in some consumer products, such as perfume, laundry detergent, or fabric softener. Often statements are made such as, “No one can be allergic to that many things”; and “It’s all in their head.”
So, is chemical sensitivity a psychiatric disorder? No! Although some initial studies appeared to support the theory that it is psychological in nature, the weight of scientific evidence is now demonstrating that chemical sensitivity is a very physiological health condition. Let’s not forget that diabetes was once considered a psychiatric condition before the medical researchers did their homework and discovered that it was an endocrine disorder – a very real physiological health condition. A similar scenario is being played out in chemical sensitivity.
In a nut shell, chemical sensitivity is the body’s alarm system, warning the individual that their body is becoming increasingly poisoned. The reactions that are experienced are toxic reactions – not allergic reactions. Consequently, chemical sensitivity is now frequently called chemical injury.
Everyone is familiar with the pain sensation that is experienced when we put our hand on a hot stove. The pain sensation is the body’s alarm system warning us to remove our hand from the hot stove before further injury occurs. It is warning us that we will experience a greater injury if our hand remains on the hot stove.
Likewise, the toxic reaction experienced by the chemically injured individual is the body’s alarm system warning the individual to remove his/her self from the toxic environment before further injury occurs. It is warning the individual that he/she will experience a greater injury if he/she remains in the toxic environment.
Chemically injured individuals are ones who have become poisoned by the toxic chemicals they encounter on a daily basis. It might occur as a result of a one-time major exposure; or it might occur very slowly, over many years of low-level exposures to toxic chemicals. Their body becomes overloaded with the toxic chemicals to which they have been exposed. They either cannot metabolize and eliminate these toxic chemicals or have a very difficult time doing so. Consequently, these toxic chemicals become stored in the tissues of their body and they enter a poisoned condition. This process can happen rapidly or it can happen very slowly over many years.
Don't believe the jargon that says chemically sensitive individuals are allergic to toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals are poisons. People are not allergic to poisons; people are poisoned by poisons.
The only difference between a chemically injured person and other people, who are not showing noticeable effects of exposure to toxic chemicals, is that a chemically injured person’s body has reached its toxic threshold; and it is giving him/her a very loud warning signal, saying "Do not put more poison into this body." Other people who are not showing noticeable effects from exposure have not hit their body's threshold yet. Poison is poison to everyone; but some people have a greater tolerance level than others.
Another very misleading theory is that chemical sensitivity is caused by some emotional trauma or emotional stress in the person’s life. Another slight version of that theory is that emotional trauma or emotional stress is a strong contributing factor to becoming chemically sensitive. The health practitioners that follow this theory state that emotional healing is necessary for effective treatment of chemical sensitivity. Consequently, they strongly recommend professional counseling.
Is this theory true? No! There are tiny infants and toddlers who are severely chemically sensitive. Yet, they have not lived through any emotional trauma. In fact, many of them are in very loving, supportive families. Chemically Injured individuals – including infants, toddlers, children, teens, adults, and the elderly – are simply individuals who have become poisoned by the toxic chemicals they have encountered on a daily basis.
Emotional trauma or emotional stress can have an impact in many, many different types of health conditions, for example, emotional issues can affect cardiovascular disease. However, these emotional issues are side issues to the actual treating of the cardiovascular disease. In chemical sensitivity, if there are any emotional issues, they are side issues to the actual treating of the chemical sensitivity, in the exact same way that they are side issues in other health conditions. Emotional healing is not a pre-requisite to effective treatment of chemical sensitivity. In fact, focusing on emotional healing can derail other treatments. As with all other health conditions, emotional healing is a good step to take and it will help to improve one’s overall health; but it does not need top priority – it is a side issue.
The huge challenge faced every day by the chemically injured individual is trying to successfully avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and avoid a toxic reaction. Toxic chemicals (poisons) are found in the majority of consumer products, including but not limited to, perfume, laundry products, personal care products, air fresheners, carpets, clothing, household and industrial cleansers, home building supplies, household furniture, vehicle interiors, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, bug repellents, pesticides, and so on. Toxic chemicals can even be found in our food and in our water.
Typically, to succeed in this huge challenge, the chemically injured person must modify his/her lifestyle; and begin living a non-toxic lifestyle. This involves searching out consumer products that have no toxic chemical content, and begin using these products.
Since chemical injury is preventable and acquired, we strongly advise everyone to take similar steps to avoid becoming chemically injured. The more a person reduces his/her exposure to toxic chemicals, the more he/she will reduce the risk of becoming injured by toxic chemicals.
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