• Dr. Sara Mazaheri Jones

When Physical Pain And Emotional Pain Are So Connected

The following post is written by Dr. Leslie Susan Collins Cole, author of "Quit Pain Pills without the Withdrawal. How to Break Free from Your Dependence and Finally Wake Up Feeling Normal."

Dr. Leslie Susan Collins Cole is a dear friend and a passionate physician and addiction specialist who loves to help those struggling with addiction to pain pills to be free again. This post is about the relationship of physical pain and emotional pain, something I think many do not consider. It is so helpful to be aware of this close relationship.

”Emotional pain looks like physical pain, and vice versa. It is not a black and white diagnosis to know when physical pain has an emotional component and vice versa. In fact, the two may always be entangled. This is the reason most of us doctors give opioids, not to harm but to heal. However, opioids don’t heal the pain of grief. Grief is the pain of adverse childhood and adulthood experiences. Grief lands on children unaware that they have been injured. Many children do not know that they have been wounded. I have listened to adults emotionlessly recount childhood stories of harsh words, physical injuries, and humiliating circumstances. The lack of emotion around a traumatic event is not necessarily a sign that there is no injury. In fact, it is more a worrisome sign that the person has not realized the deep wound. They may be at a higher likelihood of injuring someone or medicating themselves.

Adults also have adverse traumatic events that can be processed in a way that does not lend itself to quick healing. In other words, the brain packs pain after trauma which does not get processed without time, love, and very safe relationships where we can actually experience a safe difference. Without this knowledge, we are left with deep pain to medicate and do not know why. Most people who are physically hurting do not turn to their therapists, psychiatrists, or emotional health practitioners; they start with primary care or pain management. They may look for a pill rather than a cure.”

An excerpt from "Quit Pain Pills without the Withdrawal. How to Break Free from Your Dependence and Finally Wake Up Feeling Normal" by Leslie S. C. Cole, M.D.. To read more about how to quit pain pills, visit

About the author: Leslie Cole, M.D., is board certified in addiction medicine and internal medicine. She is familiar with pain and grief and is currently practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach her at

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