The role of emotions in understanding and treating chronic medical conditions is unclear. Hypertension was long considered a quintessential mind/body disorder, yet decades of research failed to confirm that emotional distress causes hypertension or that stress reduction techniques can alleviate it. The role of repressed emotions has rarely been considered. This talk presents data that strongly implicate the unsuspected role of repressed emotions in the genesis of hypertension and many other prevalent chronic medical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, migraine, and others, whose origin and treatment have remained incompletely understood. It also focuses on the role of repression as a necessary gift of evolution rather than as psychopathology, while at the same time recognizing its harmful impact on health despite the absence of conscious emotional distress.
Samuel J. Mann, MD, is a nationally known specialist in hypertension. He combines clinical practice, research, and teaching as a Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at NY Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical College. He is the author of numerous scientific publications in medical and psychology journals, many book chapters, and three books. His most recent book “Hidden Within Us; a Radical New Understanding of the Mind-Body Connection, focuses on the role of repressed emotions as a cause or contributor to many prevalent chronic medical conditions.