January 16, 2017

How Do Your Emotions Reflect Your Health?

By Dr. Scott Saunders
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Sam was in my office today with a completely emotionless face.  He said he had a pain on his finger and pointed to a bump on the distal joint of his index finger.  These joints aren’t usually painful, but he indicated it hurt to bend his finger and press on it.  I got a syringe with cortisone and put an injection in it as he looked away.

We then talked about his all-over pain.  I asked him why he had so much inflammation and he stated matter-of-factly in a monotone voice,“It’s probably the alcohol.”  Everything changed at that moment because he then asked for medication to calm his nerves so he wouldn’t feel the need to drink.

He had tried so many things that are supposed to help alcoholism, but without any success.  “I’m at the end of my rope…”  He almost broke down and cried, but trying very hard not to show emotion he gathered himself and said, “This is the only thing in my life I have wanted to do and have not been able.”

Not being able to deal with your own emotions is guaranteed to negatively affect your health!  The only way Sam can deal with his feelings of sadness, depression and loneliness is to suppress them with alcohol.  Like so many, he isn’t even really aware of why he feels the way he does, he just wants the feeling to go away.  Again, many, many people turn to alcohol because alcohol works!  This has been the “drug of choice” for all emotional problems that plague people since the beginning of time.  Now we have other options for handling our emotions and improving our health.

In fact, the majority of drugs prescribed by doctors are not for physical problems, but rather emotional ones. Many people do not see or understand things on an emotional level.  Because people don’t know why they feel the way they do, these drugs are prescribed to help people feel better and control their emotions:

  • Tranquilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Morphine
  • Pain pills
  • Sleeping pills

But because most people don’t know how to understand and deal with their feelings, they are unable to connect with others.  This produces feelings of:

  • Fear
  • Separation
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

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In trying to escape such feelings, people become physically unhealthy as a result. Like Sam who feels the need to keep drinking alcohol, there are many ways people use chemical means to feel better.  Dealing with your feelings in this way produces multiple negative effects.  This is huge in that it affects nearly every person in the world.


As a society in general, we consider that those drugs prescribed by a doctor are somehow better than those we can buy without a prescription.  However, we must consider that when we use chemicals for emotional reasons, we prevent our own growth.

For example, children who are emotionally immature often have trouble in school. Then, a teacher or doctor may recommend a drug to treat ADD.  The use of the drug stimulates receptors, but doesn’t improve the functioning of the brain. Thus, these children most often become adults with ADD, never having grown up in any other way.  Thus, they are likely to continue to require and become addicted to chemical or other support for their emotions.

Chronic Pain

Most pain is emotional.  The ground-breaking work by John Sarno, MD, a rehabilitation specialist, has shown that most

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