By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – I am seeing a large number of patients under a great deal of stress lately. One thing I have learned after years of practice is that if you see enough people, you get a sense of what the health issues happen to be.

There is no doubt that the economy is causing stress. But I think there is a bigger issue than that. We have had an unfavorable economy before but we are living in a society where personal possessions, status and creature comforts are more important than ever. People expect to have the best cars, cellphones, cable television and clothes. You can go right down the line.

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Unfortunately for many, not all certainly, but many these material things have somehow impacted or even replaced feelings of self worth based on internal character and personal relationships, which may help explain why more people are coming to their doctors under stress.

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The best treatment might be simplifying life – spending more time with family, eating well and exercising – and less time picking up more ways to make more money to buy more things.

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Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor