Thursday, August 11, 2016
Doctor's Perspective
Denial as a psychological defense mechanism

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Recently, I discussed how denial, a psychological defense mechanism, has played a role in history. What we sometimes do not realize is how often we use these kinds of mechanisms. The current presidential race is a good example. There are Hillary Clinton supporters who cannot understand why anyone could like Donald Trump. There are Donald Trump supporters who cannot understand why anyone would like Hillary Clinton. Both candidates have a list of things that people like. Both also have a list of things that people do not like. What is confusing is why everyone does not come to the same conclusion when faced with those facts. It is more related to how we think as human beings than anything else. Many of us make up our minds about something based upon the initial facts we are given. When I was a commanding officer in the military, I told those who worked for me that if they asked for an opinion, they were going to get one from me. However, I added the caveat that I was of the belief that my opinion was not necessarily correct. That latter approach is what is frequently missing in the current election. Many people have developed opinions about the candidates. Once that happens, they then need to address new information that is presented to them. If it is positive information about a candidate they like, they accept that information. If it is negative information about a candidate they like, it creates a psychological issue called "cognitive dissonance," which refers to the internal mental stress or discomfort that an individual goes through when facts do not align with their opinions. If they accept the new information, it means that they were wrong with their first opinion. Subconsciously people do not like to be wrong. Therefore, the natural tendency is to dismiss the information that does not align with their opinion. This is done via a second psychologic mechanism called "justification bias," which allows us to be able to do this without feeling guilty about dismissing the new information. Thus, it puts our mind at ease. The same thing occurs if someone receives positive information about a candidate that they do not like. It creates cognitive dissonance in the same way. Again the way out is to use justification bias to cope with the conflicting information. The result of this type of psychological reaction is to allow us to feel comfortable with an opinion we have in the face of contradictory information. If we were not able to do this, it would create undue anxiety. Thus, once we form an opinion, we can take in only the information that agrees with that opinion. We can dismiss information that does not agree with it as being irrelevant. That is why people can take opposite stances on political candidates and not understand why others do not see things their way.

Grandparents Support Group Autism Delaware's next monthly meeting of the Grandparents Support Group is at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11 in Lewes. This free support group is open to grandparents with grandchildren on the autism spectrum. Everyone is welcome to come and share ideas and concerns at the Lewes office, 17517 Nassau Commons Blvd., with other grandparents and a professional moderator. For more information, call 302-644-3410.

Nanticoke welcomes Dr. Bhanot Nanticoke Physician Network welcomes Deepa Bhanot, MD to its active medical staff at Nanticoke Physician Network Pulmonary & Critical Care, 100 Rawlins Dr., Seaford. Dr. Bhanot is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is accepting patients ages 18 and up. Dr. Bhanot received her Doctor of Medicine from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, University of Rajasthan in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. She completed her residency in anesthesiology and critical care from Sawai Man Singh Medical College, University of Rajasthan in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Kansas University School of Medicine in Wichita, Kan. and her fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan. Her professional memberships include the Indian Medical Association, the Indian Society of Anesthesiology, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Lymphedema Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a free lymphedema support group from 1:30-3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center. The topic is bariatrics. This support group is open to anyone affected by lymphedema including patients, caregivers, and relatives.

Meetings will consist of a lecture by health care professionals and medical equipment providers followed by refreshments and an open question and answer session or discussion among participants. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Robert Donati at 629-6224 or

Parkinson's Support Group Nanticoke Health Services, in conjunction with CHEER and Care DE and the Manor House, will hold a free Parkinson's education and support group from 9:30-11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18 at the Manor House in Seaford. The support group is open to the public. This support group is not only helpful for the individual diagnosed with PD, but also for caregivers, friends and family. Studies show that the information, training, and counseling that participants receive while attending support group sessions enhances the quality of life, helps to alleviate stress, and may even boost the immune system. Tara Trout, LPN at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, co-facilitates the group with Kathy Landis, caregiver resource coordinator at CHEER in Sussex County. For more information, contact Tara at 629-6611, ext. 3838.

Dr. Thomas joins Nanticoke Nanticoke Physician Network welcomes Kendol Thomas, MD to its active medical staff. Dr. Thomas joins Nanticoke Physician Network Pulmonary & Critical Care at 100 Rawlins Drive in Seaford. Dr. Thomas received his doctor of medicine from St. Georges University School of Medicine in True Blue, Grenada. He completed his residency and internship in internal medicine at Saint Francis Medical Center in Trenton, N.J. and his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Dr. Thomas is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is board eligible in critical care. Professional memberships include the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Thoracic Society.

Easter Seals Walk is Oct. 16 Register your team for the fourth annual Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland's Eastern Shore "Walk With Me & Run For Us Delmarva" at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16, at Baywood Greens, 32267 Clubhouse Way, Long Neck. Delmarva's Walk With Me is an opportunity for families, friends, neighbors and colleagues to support services for families living with disabilities in our local community. Easter Seals directly serves more than 1,930 individuals with disabilities and their families in lower Delaware and on Maryland's Eastern Shore. For the first time Easter Seals has added a 5k run to their annual Walk With Me event. For more information, visit Registration is available online at or by contacting Linda Forte at 302-253-1100, ext. 1121 or

Blue Jean Ball for Autism Delaware The 2016 Blue Jean Ball to benefit Autism Delaware will be held on Friday, Sept. 16, from 7-11 p.m. Attendees will spend the evening amid the lush surroundings of Delaware's first and only award-winning winery, Nassau Valley Vineyards, 32165 Winery Way, Lewes. Guests will enjoy hors d'oeuvres, beer and the vineyard's own award-winning wines while listening and dancing to the sounds of Carnivale. Tickets are $85 per person. For more information about the 2016 Blue Jean Ball, tickets, and sponsorships, visit

Look Good Feel Better Look Good Feel Better, a national program designed to help women overcome the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment, will hold its next session at 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 15, at the Cancer Support Community-DE, Rehoboth. Classes are taught by professional cosmetologists and are open to all women undergoing cancer treatment. The program is free of charge but you must register by calling the Cancer Support Community at 645-9150. The Sussex facility is located at 18947 John J. Williams Hwy., Medical Arts Building at the Beebe Health Campus, Ste. 312, Rehoboth.

Weight loss seminars Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery hosts weight loss seminars the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Medical Staff Conference Room at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. These free seminars are designed to provide education to individuals considering weight loss surgery to help them make informed decisions on whether surgery is needed.