Autoimmune Diseases: The Underlying Causes

For generations now, we have been conditioned to perceive any unusual biological expression as pathology or malfunction. But the emerging paradigm is one of understanding illness as a meaningful, adaptive program of survival. An autoimmune response is a result of the body attacking normal cells with autoantibodies. At the core of the immune system is the body’s ability to tell the difference between the self and nonself—what is us and what is foreign. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body, thus altering the function of the organ that produces them.

What is the root cause of autoimmune diseases?
When a conflict generating extreme stress within an individual is not resolved, the brain will order a specific biological response in the body that will express the emotional struggle. Illnesses have meaning: They are the expression of unresolved issues. Autoimmune diseases destroy cells that are healthy because they are not recognized as such. Symbolically, one is destroying oneself. A struggle related to self-destruction and self-intolerance can lead to an autoimmune disease based on specific contexts and perceptions. Often, such diseases occur because someone feels unwanted or unrecognized by their parents. The core self-devaluation can trigger an autoimmune disease as the expression of the rejection.

Feeling that one doesn’t have the right to defend oneself can translate into the bodily system’s not defending itself; a tendency to take the blame for others in daily life can also promote autoimmune self-destruction. A subconscious need to stop the functioning of an organ can lead to an autoimmune disease that seeks the destruction of that organ. For instance, Hashimoto’s Disease (see below) promotes the destruction of the thyroid. Our thyroid secretes hormones that spur us to action. But if someone becomes conflicted about moving too fast, the body might subconsciously start destroying this function. To take another example, if someone is conflicted about the direction they are taking in life, the body can promote adrenal exhaustion to stop one from continuing to move on the wrong path.

Autoimmune disease examples

Hashimoto’s Disease:

An autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is targeted and progressively destroyed. At the early stage of this disorder, a goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland) may appear.

Emotional conflict(s): Related to the need to slow down: To reclaim time and push against one’s own tendency to move fast, the body turns against the organ responsible for one’s physical energy and speed (thyroid gland).

Example: A man wants to spend more time with his kids every morning: Normally, he is out the door for work before he can even have breakfast with them. As a subconscious solution to his conflict, he develops Hashimoto’s Disease.

Addison’s Disease

An autoimmune disease related to the under-functioning of the adrenal cortex.

Emotional conflict(s): Pertains to feelings of having gone in the wrong direction or made the wrong decision. The brain’s solution is to reduce the secretion of cortisol: The induced state of fatigue will then force the individual to stop proceeding along the “wrong path.”

Restoring health

Recognizing your own value and talents will play an important role in your recovery if you have an autoimmune disease. Accept all facets of yourself and work on letting go of that self-critical voice inside of you. By learning to act as your own mentor or “parent,” you can heal past wounds. By acknowledging the good in you, you will influence your subconscious to recognize the good cells in your body and let them do their work. Self-recognition is the first step toward a healthy immune system and a fulfilling life.