The freedom vs. health paradox

Craig Hassed

Abstract


We all want to be free but freedom is both an outer and an inner state. For example, we want to be free of the suffering brought about by external factors such as oppression, bullying, injustice, discrimination, deprivation and illness. We also want to be free inwardly in the sense of being free of the suffering brought on by internal factors such as worry, anxiety, fear, depression, obsession, compulsion, addiction and attachment. There may however be a paradox in our pursuit of freedom in that we tend to pursue the former without paying much attention to the latter. As a result we may find the opposite of what we seek – freedom, health, happiness – because outer freedom is actually dependent upon inner freedom.


In this article we will explore how unfettered freedom is central to the causation of poor mental and physical health whereas, paradoxically, freedom, health and happiness are brought about by discipline, reason, restraint and setting limits.

Keywords


healthcare, lifestyle, mindfulness, chronic illness, addiction

Full Text:

PDF

References


How to catch a monkey [video on the Internet]. 2013 [cited 2016 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTX7Cxq8aGc.

Encyclopaedia Britannica. Great Books of the Western World. The University of Chicago; 1952. p. 443.

Understanding the teen brain. Health Encyclopedia [Internet]. University of Rochester Medical Center, NY. [cited 2016 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051.

Lim S, Han CE, Uhlhaas PJ, Kaiser M. Preferential detachment during human brain development: age- and sex-specific structural connectivity in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data. Cereb Cortex 2015 Jun 15;25(6):1477-89.

Whittle S, Allen NB, Lubman DI, Yücel M. The neurobiological basis of temperament: towards a better understanding of psychopathology. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2006;30(4):511-25.

Whittle S, Yap MB, Yücel M, et al. Prefrontal and amygdala volumes are related to adolescents' affective behaviors during parent-adolescent interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Mar 4;105(9):3652-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709815105.

Whittle S, Yücel M, Fornito A, et al. Neuroanatomical correlates of temperament in early adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008 Jun;47(6):682-93. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e31816bffca.

Visser TA, Ohan JL, Whittle S, et al. Sex differences in structural brain asymmetry predict overt aggression in early adolescents. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2013 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Mrazek MD, Mooneyham BW, Mrazek KL and Schooler JW. Pushing the Limits: Cognitive, Affective, and Neural Plasticity Revealed by an Intensive Multifaceted Intervention. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 2016;10:117. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00117

Makary MA, Daniel M. Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US. BMJ 2016;353:i2139 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2139

Mischel W, Ebbesen EB, Raskoff Zeiss A. Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1972;21(2):204–218. doi:10.1037/h0032198. ISSN 0022-3514.

Mischel W, Shoda Y, Rodriguzez ML. Delay of gratification in children. Science 1989;244:933–938. doi:10.1126/science.2658056.

Ayduk ON, Mendoa-Denton R, Mischel W, Downey G, Peake PK, Rodriguez ML. Regulating the interpersonal self: Strategic self-regulation for coping with rejection sensitivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000;79(5):776–792. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.5.776.

Schlam TR, Wilson NL, Shoda Y, Mischel W, Ayduk O. Preschoolers’ delay of gratification predicts their body mass 30 years later. The Journal of Pediatrics 2013;162:90–93. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.06.049. PMC 3504645.

Shoda Y, Mischel W, Peake PK. Predicting Adolescent Cognitive and Self-Regulatory Competencies from Preschool Delay of Gratification: Identifying Diagnostic Conditions. Developmental Psychology 1990;26(6):978–986. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.26.6.978.

McClelland MM, Acock AC, Piccinin A, Rhea SA, Stallings MC. Relations between Preschool Attention Span-Persistence and Age 25 Educational Outcomes. Early Child Res Q. 2013 Apr 1; 28(2): 314–324. Published online 2012 Aug 3. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2012.07.008

Ford ES, Bergmann MM, Kröger J, et al. Healthy Living Is the Best Revenge Findings From the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition–Potsdam Study. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(15):1355-1362.

Elwood P, Galante J, Pickering J, Palmer S, Bayer A, et al. (2013) Healthy Lifestyles Reduce the Incidence of Chronic Diseases and Dementia: Evidence from the Caerphilly Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81877. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081877

NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19•2 million participants. The Lancet 2016;387(10026):1377–1396.

Carlier N, Marshe VS, Cmorejova J, Davis C, Müller DJ. Genetic Similarities between Compulsive Overeating and Addiction Phenotypes: A Case for "Food Addiction"? Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015 Dec;17(12):96. doi: 10.1007/s11920-015-0634-5.

Weinschenk S. Why we're all addicted to texts, twitter and google. Dopamine makes you addicted to seeking information in an endless loop. Psychology Today [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2016 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.

psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201209/why-were-all-addicted-texts-

twitter-and-google.

A Turning Point and VicHealth investigation into the concentration of liquor outlets has revealed residents in the poorest areas of Victoria have up to six times more bottle shops in their neighbourhoods than those who are well-off [Internet] VicHealth, Carlton, Victoria, Australia; 2011 [updated 2014 Nov 12]; cited 2016 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/media-and-resources/media-releases/study-shows-bottle-shops-concentrated-in-poor-areas -of-victoria.

The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation. Background Paper to VicHealth Position Statement on Health Inequalities [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2017 Jan 3]. Available from: https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/~/media/.../hi_background_

paper_latest.ashx.

Hassed C. Playing the Genetic Hand Life Dealt You. Melbourne: Michelle Anderson Publishing; 2014.

Bygren LO, Kaati G, Edvinsson S. Longevity determined by paternal ancestors' nutrition during their slow growth period. Acta Biotheor. 2001 Mar;49(1):53-9.

Richardson A, Austad SN, Ikeno Y, Unnikrishnan A, McCarter RJ. Significant life extension by ten percent dietary restriction. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Jan;1363:11-7. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12982.

Mathers JC. Impact of nutrition on the ageing process. Br J Nutr. 2015 Jan;113 Suppl:S18-22. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003237.

Soare A, Weiss EP, Pozzilli P. Benefits of caloric restriction for cardiometabolic health, including type 2 diabetes mellitus risk. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2014 Mar;30 Suppl 1:41-7. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2517.

Hamer M, Lavoie KL, Bacon SL. Taking up physical activity in later life and healthy ageing: the English longitudinal study of ageing. Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092993.

Chen ST, Siddarth P, Ercoli LM, et al. Modifiable Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease and Subjective Memory Impairment across Age Groups. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 4;9(6):e98630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098630. eCollection 2014.

Entringer S, Epel ES, Kumsta R, et al. Stress exposure in intrauterine life is associated with shorter telomere length in young adulthood. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108(33):E513-8.

Kroenke CH, Epel E, Adler N, et al. Autonomic and adrenocortical reactivity and buccal cell telomere length in kindergarten children. Psychosom Med. 2011 Sep;73(7):533-40.

Tomiyama AJ, O'Donovan A, Lin J, et al. Does cellular aging relate to patterns of allostasis? An examination of basal and stress reactive HPA axis activity and telomere length. Physiol Behav. 2012 Apr 12;106(1):40-5. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.11.016.

Epel ES, Blackburn EH, Lin J, et al. Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004;101(49):17312-5.

Verhoeven JE, Révész D, Epel ES, et al. Major depressive disorder and accelerated cellular aging: results from a large psychiatric cohort study. Mol Psychiatry. 2013 Nov 12. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.151.

Lin J,Dhabhar FS, Wolkowitz O, et al. Pessimism correlates with leukocyte telomere shortness and elevated interleukin-6 in post-menopausal women. Brain Behav Immun. 2009 May;23(4):446-9.

Brydon L, Lin J, Butcher L, et al. Hostility and cellular aging in men from the Whitehall II cohort. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 May 1;71(9):767-73. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.08.020.

Prather AA, Puterman E, Lin J, et al. Shorter leukocyte telomere length in midlife women with poor sleep quality. J Aging Res. 2011;2011:721390. doi: 10.4061/2011/721390.

Chae DH, Nuru-Jeter AM, Adler NE, et al. Discrimination, racial bias, and telomere length in African-American men. Am J Prev Med. 2014 Feb;46(2):103-11. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.10.020.

Ahola K, Sirén I, Kivimäki M, et al. Work-related exhaustion and

telomere length: a population-based study. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40186.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040186.

Parks CG, DeRoo LA, Miller DB, et al. Employment and work schedule are related to telomere length in women. Occup Environ Med. 2011 Aug;68(8):582-9. doi: 10.1136/oem.2010.063214.

Hill TD, Ellison CG, Burdette AM, Taylor J, Friedman KL. Dimensions of religious involvement and leukocyte telomere length. Soc Sci Med. 2016 Apr 28. pii: S0277-9536(16)30206-4. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.04.032.

Krauss J, Farzaneh-Far R, Puterman E, et al. Physical fitness and telomere length in patients with coronary heart disease: findings from the Heart and Soul Study. PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e26983. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026983.

Puterman E, Lin J, Blackburn E, et al. The power of exercise: buffering the effect of chronic stress on telomere length. PLoS One. 2010 May 26;5(5):e10837.

Lin J, Epel E, Blackburn E. Telomeres and lifestyle factors: roles in cellular aging. Mutat Res. 2012 Feb 1;730(1-2):85-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.08.003.

Valdes AM, Andrew T, Gardner JP, et al. Obesity, cigarette smoking, and telomere length in women. Lancet 2005;366:662-4.

Crous-Bou M, Fung TT, Prescott J, Julin B, Du M, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Hu FB, De Vivo I. Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses’ Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2014; 349: g6674. Published online 2014 December 2. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g6674.

Boccardi V, Esposito A, Rizzo MR, Marfella R, Barbieri M, Paolisso G. Mediterranean Diet, Telomere Maintenance and Health Status among Elderly. PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e62781. Published online 2013 April 30. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062781

Farzaneh-Far R, Lin J, Epel ES, Harris WS, Blackburn EH, Whooley MA. Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7.

Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Epel ES, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids, oxidative stress, and leukocyte telomere length: A randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Feb;28:16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.09.004.

O'Callaghan NJ, Toden S, Bird AR, et al. Colonocyte telomere shortening is greater with dietary red meat than white meat and is attenuated by resistant starch. Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb;31(1):60-4. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.09.003.

Zhang X, Lin S, Funk WE, Hou L. Republished: Environmental and occupational exposure to chemicals and telomere length in human studies. Postgrad Med J. 2013 Dec;89(1058):722-8. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2012-101350rep.

Carlson LE, Beattie TL, Giese-Davis J, Faris P, Tamagawa R, Fick LJ, Degelman ES, Speca M. Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors. Cancer. 2014 Nov 3. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29063.

Ornish D, Lin J, Chan JM, et al. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2013 Sep 16. doi:pii: S1470-2045(13)70366-8. 10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70366-8.

Frattaroli J, Weidner G, Dnistrian AM, et al. Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Urology. 2008 Dec;72(6):1319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2008.04.050.

Ornish D, Magbanua MJ, Weidner G, et al. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 17;105(24):8369-74. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803080105.

Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J, et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1048-57. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70234-1.

Emerging Trends and Alerts [Internet]. National Institute of Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. 2016 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/emerging-trends.

Turn on, tune in, drop out [Internet]. Wikipedia. 2016 Sep 2 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turn_on,_tune_in,_drop_out.

What does MDMA do to the brain? [Internet]. National Institute of Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. 2006 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-does-mdma-do-to-brain.

Health Risk Factors: Trends in smoking [Internet]. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.

nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/738d23457b86defbca2570ec000e2f5c!OpenDocument.

Looze Md, Raaijmakers Q, Bogt TT, et al. Decreases in adolescent weekly alcohol use in Europe and North America: evidence from 28 countries from 2002 to 2010. Eur J Public Health. 2015 Apr;25 Suppl 2:69-72. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckv031.

Richter L, Pugh BS, Peters EA, Vaughan RD, Foster SE. Underage drinking: prevalence and correlates of risky drinking measures among youth aged 12-20. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2015 Dec 18:1-10.

Hasin DS, Stinson FS, Ogburn E, et al. Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in the United States: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64(7):830–42.

Slade T, Chapman C, Swift W, et al. Birth cohort trends in the global epidemiology of alcohol use and alcohol-related harms in men and women: systematic review and metaregression. BMJ Open 2016;6:e011827. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011827.

Gambling [Internet]. Australian Government. Department of Social Services. 2016 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: http://www.problemgambling.gov.au/facts/.

Problem gaming [Internet]. European Gaming and Betting Association.

[cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: http://www.egba.eu/ pdf/EGBA_FS_ ProblemGaming.pdf.

Volberg RA. Gaming and problem gaming in Nevada [Internet]. Report to the Nevada Department of Human Resources. 2002 March 22 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: http://www.nevadacouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/

/NV-Prevalence-Study-Adults-2002.pdf.

Thomas S, Jackson A. Risk and protective factors, depression and co-morbidities in problem gambling [Internet]. BeyondBlue. 2008 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/research projects/ research-projects/risk-and-protective-factors-depression-and-co-morbidities-in-problem

gambling.

The problem gambling research and treatment centre. Final report [Internet]. Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne and Monash University. 2010 [cited 2016 Dec 20]. Available from: https://www.liquorandgaming.justice nsw.gov.au/Documents/gaming-and-wagering/problems-with-gambling/research/

research-children-at-risk-of-developing-problem-gambling.pdf.

Peña CJ, Bagot RC, Labonté B, Nestler EJ. Epigenetic Signaling in Psychiatric Disorders. J Mol Biol. 2014 Apr 5. pii: S0022-2836(14)00174-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2014.03.016.

Vassoler FM, Sadri-Vakili G. Mechanisms of transgenerational inheritance of addictive-like behaviors. Neuroscience. 2013 Aug 3. pii: S0306-4522(13)00658-1. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.07.064.

Brake WG, Zhang TY, Diorio J, et al. Influence of early postnatal rearing conditions on mesocorticolimbic dopamine and behavioural responses to psychostimulants and stressors in adult rats. Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Apr; 19(7):1863-74.

Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, et al. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Apr;13(2):255-9.

Bowen S, Chawla N, Collins SE, et al. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention for substance use disorders: a pilot efficacy trial. Subst Abus. 2009 Oct-Dec; 30(4):295-305.

Bowen S, Witkiewitz K, Clifasefi SL, et al. Relative efficacy of mindfulness-based relapse prevention, standard relapse prevention, and treatment as usual for substance use disorders: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014 May;71(5):547-56.

Maynard BR, Wilson AN, Labuzienski E, Whiting SW. Mindfulness-Based Approaches in the Treatment of Disordered Gambling: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Research on Social Work Practice. Published online October 16, 2015. doi: 10.1177/1049731515606977.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN: 2291-918X