View Full Version : Dr. Phil claims Lupus is "brain disorder" on radio

12-10-2004, 04:45 PM
Hi, all - thought you'd want this info that I just got from my local LFA chapter. I find it appalling...........maybe we should all send e-mails, too?

LFA Sends Letter to Dr. Phil

On November 11, while on the Larry King Live Show, Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the popular television show, "Dr. Phil," characterized lupus as a "brain disorder." The comment by Dr. Phil came in response to a caller who was disabled by lupus and other serious health conditions and has a teenage son with multiple mental problems. In responding to the caller, Dr. Phil included lupus with the other conditions, calling them all "brain disorders. Duane Peters, Vice President for Advocacy & Communication, responded to Dr. Phil with a letter addressing his inaccurate analysis of the disease. "As a highly-visible, highly-respected psychologist, your words carry much weight and, unfortunately, this most recent statement will have the effect of reinforcing public misunderstanding that lupus is a mental condition," said Peters.

"Your response to the caller with multiple health conditions inadvertently reinforced the common misperception that lupus is an emotional, rather than physical, condition. What makes this so unacceptable to us is that we, along with our 50 Chapters and 220 support groups nationwide, are diligently working to educate the public about lupus." In his letter, Peters asked Dr. Phil to work with the LFA to inform the public that lupus is a life-threatening, life-diminishing autoimmune disease. "We believe that your national television audience is filled with families who have a family member with a chronic illness, like lupus. We hope you will agree that a show that addresses the challenges of family members who deal with chronic diseases, like lupus, is a topic that will resonate with your audiences."

12-12-2004, 02:57 AM
i like dr phil...i actually enjoy watching his shows...but i canNOT believe he said that!! ignorance can be such a harmful thing....people really need to educate themselves before speaking on things they obviously know nothing about...i hope he educates himself on this...

12-21-2004, 02:17 PM
Well, I guess I have to count Dr. Phil amongst those who are totally ignorant about this disease and who, like Peters said, are guilty of continuing the public's misunderstanding of our diseases. I truly believe that a lot of our suffering comes from those who misunderstand our disease and who try to tell us that it is "All in our heads!!"
I hope that Dr. Phil will PUBLICLY admit that his diagnosis was ill informed and harmful to us. Until then, I have included him on my "Out -List". He will no longer recieve my support as a viewer or a fan!


01-28-2005, 11:46 PM
here's a link to where you can e mail the show. i think we should bombard him!
it is a chance for us to make him correct his error and at the same time make some lemonade out of this lemon and create some awareness about the disease!

here is th e mail i wrote, though it wouldn't accept it becuase it was too long so i cut a few sentences out but most of it arrived intact to their site.

Dr. Phil
I understand that when asked about Lupus, you characterized it as a "brain disorder."

We who have Lupus are curious as to whether you think this is a psychosomatic illness, or whether you are confused and think it is a neurological illness. Either way, you seem to be misinformed, or perhaps just uninformed.

As a person who has had lupus since 1992, and has had much of my youth stolen by this disease, have been judged by people, blamed for my own illness and abandoned by "Christians" because of it, lost my hair, had kidney failure and 2 strokes, 40 pound weight loss and severe anemia, and more all because of lupus, would like to know- what do you know about lupus?

Do you know that over a million people in this country have lupus and yet noone seems to know anything about it?

that when you get cancer, you get world class treatment and universal sympathy but when you have lupus people noone knows what it is, so they think you're imagining your pain and/ or you're a hypochondriac?!

Your strange comment about lupus being a "brain disease" only adds to the confusion of the public. Many people who watch you value your opinion very highly (I have watched your show many times, often in the treatment room at an alternative medical clinic) and those of us who are struggling with a very frightening and debilitating disease would appreciate your help in clarifying the facts about lupus.

Perhaps you could even do a show about families who live with folks who have chronic illnesses, and how they are so often misunderstood. It would mean a lot to us if you would at least make a short comment about what lupus really is- a serious, chronic, life-threatening, painful and debilitating disease- and what it really isn't- a brain disorder or a figment of our imaginations.

We were very disappointed with your characterization of the disease, and if you will go to the source, one such as any rheumatologist who treats the disease, or the Lupus Foundation of America, you can get avery clearly worded explanation to share with your viewers. We work very hard to create awareness and it is an uphill battle.

Every day you ask people to "get real" and admit their mistakes. I am asking you to do the same.

Carla Ulbrich
Lupus Survivor

01-31-2005, 05:08 PM
Hi Carla;
Your e-mail to Dr. Phil was excellent!! I shot off one today also and, since I lost my daughter to this disease, I beat home the fact that "DEATH" is not psychosomatic!! There are too many of us who are incapacitated and lose our lives due to Lupus and the fact that an educated man, such as he claims to be, would make ignorant statements that promotes prejudice about our disease just makes my blood boil!!

Thank you for the information and for sharing your e-mail!

Peace and Blessings

01-31-2005, 09:33 PM
death is not psychosomatic! nicely said!!!!
as always people belittle what they do not understand, so i think that that is what people do with lupus. i get weird stuff like "isn't that something only black people get?" or is that related to aids? a form of cancer? etc.
maybe if enough of us write him, he will retract his statement and learn about lupus!

02-04-2005, 01:10 AM
Let Us Hope So!!!!!!!

04-04-2005, 01:36 PM
Hello all.
I just joined today and I am so happy that I found this site.

I was diagnosed with Lupus after years of feeling bad altho I still held a full time job as a corrections officer.

In Decemebr I was hospitalized for 13 days and to try and make this shorter, I was diagnosed with Lupus, hemalytic anemia, I have a blood clot in my right lower leg and one in my left lung. 18 years ago when I lost my first child from the cord, I was diagnosed with ITP.

Before being hospitalized, I could not even stand long enought to brush my teeth and or stand up long enough to shower.
I was under Dr's care and in and out of the ER.
I had such a hard time breathing. My body was exhausted, and so I tried one day again to make my Dr listen to me. They told me to go and get another series of blood work done, and then called me later and told me that I needed to go the hospital and they would contact my oncologist because my blood work was all wrong.

I was in 13 days and the first 6-8 days they did not think that I was going to live. To see my parents in such pain, worry and devastation....made me want to be well again. After all, they are 70 and 72 and I should be taking care of them!
What made it harder is the fact that my brother moved away and was murdered a year ago last November....SO I had to get well, because I feel that they could never survive the loss of another child.

So, since coming home, I am up and then down again on Coumadin, and prednisone.
Some days I feel like I will live.....and then other days which are most days, I worry that I am never going to beat this and I worry about my parents having to deal with this.

I am a 44 year old single Mom with my daughter going to college full time in the fall and I live next to my parents in larger homes. We are both selling our homes and again planning to build new smaller homes soon.
We are so close and I love them so much. I know that once all the work is done and we are all settled in that things will be more manageable then, but I worry that I may not make it. I worry that we have these plans and that I will let them down by being so sick that I will not be able to not only afford it but be too ill top make the move.

I am very thankful for each and everyday and I try to take care of myself.
I had totally stopped smoking until recently and have started to smoke 1-2 cigarettes a day and a couple of times a week I have a couple of drinks.
I never want to get teh drunk feeling because I feel that way most of the time anyways!

I would love to be on a Lupus Chat.....somewhere...?? And I would love if anyone could give me their opinion of me......Feeling that I will be alone and unattractive to any man, because of my puffy and illness,....and being alone the rest of my life.

Maybe I need a swift kick in the rear! But please, please know how thankful I am that I am blessed with another day each night and morning.

Sorry this is so long, but I have noone that I know to talk to about this....no one in my city seems to know about Lupus, and there are no support groups either.

Ok,,,,thank you for your time in reading this long and babbly letter,,,
Good day to you all.....


04-04-2005, 06:49 PM
hi Loddie!
your post makes me sad and happy at the same time. sad because i identify so much with you- ot rbings back so manyu feelings. and happy because i am better now, and i look good again and i have the most wonderful boyfriend anyone could ever ask for- and i too thought noone could ever want me againnot only because i loked awful butbecause i was "damaged goods"
but you know our illness makes us more human and more compassionate. kind of like the velveteen rabbit, who became real after being loved- we can become human from struggle...
i also stayed alive in the hospital because i knew it would devastate my parents if i did not. i so relate to you!
did you look at the lupus site to see if there are chapters near you?
lupus foundation...
i put together my own support group with seeveral others in my town because the lpus group in my hometown was too formal and closed minded to alternative medicine. and would not talk about emotions!
so don't be afraid to take charge of what you're able to take charge of when it comes to your own care.
there are tons of alternative medicine things out there some mroe useful than others but if you care to chat ('http://www.enhancemysearch.com/admin/results.php?q=Chat&id=25')about them please let me know and i'll babble on and on.
it helped me reduce my pain- as i don't have a dr who will prescribe narcotics, i needed something besides advil so i could sleep at night in less or no pain- and also has helped me ween off the meds, and i'm totally off prednisone for 2 years now. (i hate prednisone... don't we all?!!!) and i was on 40mg for several months, so i was taking a lot and am now taking ZERO and i have my face and my hair back :)
there is hope!
i hoep you stick around