Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition in which a person’s
limbs become extremely uncomfortable during periods of inactivity. It is most
commonly associated with lying down and sitting at night time. The disorder is
also known to effect individuals during the day as well. Culture and
biomedicine have a large effect on the illness experience of Restless Leg
Syndrome. American culture seems to be more accepting of “conditions” like RLS.
Internationally, RLS is not as accepted and often looked down upon as a fallible
disorder. Even in the U.S., as indicated in lecture, RLS has a garnered a good
amount of skepticism. People question the validity of the disorder, in my
opinion, because there is not an accurate or precise way to technically
diagnose it. Patients come in and describe symptoms, and are essentially
diagnosed based off those symptoms. There isn’t a way to test for RLS.
Diagnosis is strictly based off the patient’s description of his or her
In terms of biomedicine, there are drugs on the market for
RLS. Iron deficiency is sometimes correlated with RLS. A common treatment
centers around taking iron supplements which has improved the condition in some
cases. However, the treatment has not been consistently proven effective.
Doctor’s recently have also treated RLS with Parkinson’s disease drugs. This
type of treatment affects dopamine levels and is believed to have a calming
effect geared towards the extremities. In my opinion, the cloudiness and grey
areas surrounding the science and behind RLS greatly affect how RLS is treated
and perceived. The medical community has not committed or agreed upon an
effective treatment of RLS and therefore the jury, I believe, remains out on
I believe there is an enormous and currently unknown effect
behind belief and healing. We have studies that clearly indicate the effects of placebos, yet we don’t know why they are so effective. What causes a person, biologically, to heal from fake surgery as in the film? Why would taking a pill that has no physiological or chemical effect on a person, cure one’s depression? Personally, I have had a number of
sports related injuries. Having a positive attitude and belief that I would
return to full strength, certainly aided in my healing process. Understanding
the depths of the immense effect belief can have on healing and health is
something the science has been unable to understand thus far.