Family secrets such as alcoholism, abuse and unwanted pregnancies are an obstacle to healing when disease strikes, according to a new study.
"Family secrets lead to feelings of guilt, anger and helplessness. These feelings have a considerable impact on health, specifically on the capacity to adapt and find a balance in times of disease," said Marie-Dominique Beaulieu, a professor at the Universiti de Montrial's Department of Family Medicine
New research increasingly shows that emotions such as anger and feelings of helplessness lead to a higher risk of disease.
For instance, correlations have been established between anger and coronary heart disease.
"As a researcher, it's hard to prove. It would require longitudinal studies and we would also need to know those secrets. But I am convinced that family secrets are detrimental to healing," said Beaulieu.
Someone can be perfectly happy even if they carry heavy secrets.
"To speak about subjects that have tarnished a family's history is a liberating process for oneself and for future generations," said Beaulieu.