Understanding and avoiding denial is also important

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the habit of denial remains. Understanding and avoiding denial is also important in the treatment of various  diseases. The American Heart Association cites denial as a principal reason that  treatment of a heart attack is delayed. Because the symptoms are so varied, and often  have other potential explanations, the opportunity exists for the patient to deny the  emergency, often with fatal consequences. It is common for patients to delay  mammograms or other tests because of a fear of  cancer , even though this is clearly  maladaptive. It is the responsibility of the care team, and of the nursing staff in  particular, to train at-risk patients to avoid such behavior. Displacement Displacement is an  unconscious  defense mechanism, whereby the  mind  redirects  emotion from a "dangerous" object to a "safe" object. In  psychoanalytic  theory,  displacement is a defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses to a  more acceptable, or less threatening, target that can serve as an emotional substitute.  The most classic example is a worker, angry at his boss, obviously unable to direct his  anger and hostility to his intended target, comes home and yells at his wife. She, now  also angry and upset, displaces her anger on the child, who then further displaces it on  their pet dog. Most often, we take out our frustrations on the people we love. Another, far more destructive form of displacement is what  Anna Freud  called "turning- against-self." This happens when the anger and/or other negative emotions (such as 
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hatred) are redirected towards oneself, instead of another object. This dynamic is  commonly associated with depression and  suicide . Intellectualization Intellectualization is a defense mechanism in which reasoning is used to block  confrontation with an  unconscious  conflict and its associated emotional stress. This  involves concentrating on the intellectual components of the situation so as to distance  oneself from the anxiety-provoking emotions associated with such situations. Thus, it  effectively removes one's self, emotionally, from a stressful event. Intellectualization helps to protect us against anxiety by separation from the painful or  stressful events, hiding the emotions it provokes behind big words, almost a scientific  focus on the facts. This is accomplished by thinking about the event in cold, rational  terms, clinically analyzing it. For example, a wife whose husband is dying may try to  learn everything about his  disease , its prognosis, and treatment options. She may talk  about it in scientific terms, analyzing and describing the medical facts about his  condition. Doing so may help her not to feel all the pain, anger, and onslaught of other 
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