My name is Dr. Carrie Zimmerman; I have been a clinical neuroscientist studying stress for the past five years. This is a personal stress case study on patient H. I have been seeing patient H for four years, and have been building a case study on her stress life for the duration of that time. Throughout this case study I will be consulting “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky.
Meet patient H:
Patient H is a nineteen-year-old female of Caucasian decent; she is now a sophomore at James Madison University studying Hospitality management with a minor in general business.
Major Stressors (current):
Major current stressors in patient H’s life are normal for a girl of her age; attending college at a prestigious university, a new puppy, and friends. Patient H also is suffering from a variety of mental illnesses (this will be discussed later), and her family majorly stresses her. Patient H is an only child and therefore has had her parents sole attention her entire life, this has let to her feeling smothered by them. Dr. Sapolsky describes a study, which claims that losing a parent in early childhood increases lifelong risk of depression (Sapolsky, 101). Patient H did not lose a parent, however her father was in the marines and he was deployed overseas for the majority of her childhood in top-secret missions, most of which barred him from regular communication with his young family back in the states. This stressed patient H and her mother a great extent, both patient H and her mother suffer from depression now, patient H’s mother was not neglectful, but was “inattentive” as Sapolsky describes it. Due to Michael Meaney’s research on rat pups, we can infer that her mother being inattentive may have caus...
... middle of paper ...
... and a healthy diet. I also would recommend talk therapy with her parents to sit down and discuss her feelings of being smothered, which she believes is them overcompensating for being absent, literally or mentally, in her childhood. Finally I think that patient H would benefit greatly from alternative therapy for her depression and anxiety, this could also help take her off some of her medications. I think specifically music therapy, or something creative like art therapy would help her the most.
Patient H is a dear friend of mine, and the vast majority of this information I have been telling her for years. After taking this class however I learned a lot about the stress response and gained greater understanding about why she is the way she is.
Sapolsky, R.M. (2004). Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers (3rd ed.) Henry Holt & Co: New York.
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