The Mind Body Health Connection

Dr. Philip A. Pappas, Ph.D

Are you chronically ill by chance, or have you failed to do what is needed to get well? I often ask my clients this question because it gets them thinking about the part they play in their own care.   I recently read a study done by Medco Health Solutions, Inc.  The study suggested that 52 percent of all Americans are on one or more prescription drugs each and every month.  Are more than half of all Americans sick.

The physicians quoted in the study said that this information for the most part represents chronic health issues resulting most often from obesity and poor lifestyle choices.  The physicians in this study point to the aggressive multiple drug regimens that have saved thousands of lives.  Did they save lives and how do you measure that?

The average yearly death rate caused by prescription drug use is more than 225,000 per year and CNN reported that in 2006, more than 700,000 people visited ER’s across the US with drug reactions.   What could 700,000 ER visit cost?  If we assume a very low $500.00 for an ER visit, that totals three hundred and fifty million dollars.  There are more than 1.5 million US medication injuries each year; (Johns Hopkins University 2006). “The chance of dying in an aviation accident is one in 2 million, while the risk of dying from a medical accident is one in 200!”––Dr. Leape of the Harvard Medical School of Public Health. What is the yearly cost of drug deaths and injuries?  Why are so many individuals willing to risk those injuries and deaths?

I asked my own physician why patients prefer medication over healthy lifestyle changes like exercise and weight lose.  He said, “people eat too much junk, drink, and smoke because it makes them feel good.”  He also explained that no matter how much he begs them to change their ways they usually don’t.  The doctor is suggesting that stressed-out people use our abundance of foods to medicate themselves.  They could jog, play tennis, or workout at the gym, but most just eat junk food until they develop illness and eventual early death.

Could the answer to the failing health of Americans be ever increasing prescription drug use?  Joel Fuhrman, MD. in his book Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Little Brown and Company, saysFor most people, illness means putting their fate in the hands of doctors and complying with their recommendations – recommendations that typically involve taking drugs for the rest of their lives while they watch their health gradually deteriorate. People are completely unaware that most illnesses are self-induced and can be reversed with aggressive nutritional methods.”  Dr. Fuhrman may be correct but how can you affect change when half the population refuses to accept any responsibility for their own health care.  Is it so hard to eat healthy, exercise, control your weight, and get some sleep.

In about 100 BC Cicero said “let the health of the people be the supreme law of the land.”  He was suggesting that the Roman Republic, as part of its mandate to rule, was obliged to provide clean water, a healthy food supply and basic sanitation to its citizen.  This would improve the citizen’s lot in life and strengthen the republic.   Our republic has exposed us to thousands of toxins and actively participated in the pollution of air, water and the food chain.  Our republic has also created a health care system largely dependent on synthetic drug chemistry.

If we choose to be sick because we refuse to live healthy, what chance does our nation have of surviving?  Should the minority of Americans who take care of themselves have to pay for the majority who don’t?  How hard would it be to care for your own health?  Our grandparents did exactly that. They had less diabetes, less obesity, less mental illness and less heart disease.

People in third world countries are healthier than Americans.  Virtually all countries of the European Union are healthier than us.  The most expensive health system in the world is now ranked 37th in the world and unable to deliver good health to its people.  Cicero would not have been pleased.

So what can you do right now to improve your health?  Turn off your TV and your computer and get outside and start walking or running or rollerblading or anything involving vigorous activity.  Next, start eating like an adult and not a spoiled child on a sugar binge.  Visit a health food store or a personal trainer.  Get into a stress management program.  Stay away form negative and sick individuals as much as possible. Do something about your sleep problems besides drugging yourself unconscious.   Get lots of bright light in the day time and sleep in a totally black room.  If you are trying to stop smoking, stay away from smokers.  Try losing weight by eating less and exercising more.  Become the manager of your own health care.  Forget about how sick you are and focus on how well you are becoming.  If you find this to be just too challenging, get some help.


Dr. Pappas is a certified nutritionist with 20 years of experience in natural health. He also has 25 years of experience in the health care industry.  To learn more about Dr. Pappas and his Natural Food Store in Bucks County, PA

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Copyright – Dr. Phil Pappas – used with permission.

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