How Mental Health And Physical Health Are Connected
Mental health and emotional wellness are not only impacted by “invisible” factors, such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Your physical health may have more serious implications for your mental health and emotional wellness than we would typically think.
Finding The Connection
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health and physical health are closely related. The relationship is bidirectional. Studies show that depressed patients, for example, are twice as likely to have a heart attack. Going further, depression increases the probability of fatality in patients with cardiac disease. Mortality and rehospitalization rates are lowered if symptoms of depression are treated after a heart attack.
The Impact Of Neglecting Your Physical Health
If you don’t take care of yourself physically, it may cause a myriad of mental and emotional implications both directly and indirectly. Lack of self-care, which could include practices such as overeating, lack of sleep, substance abuse, and physical inactivity, are also signs of self-neglect. Low levels of physical activity have the ability to impair your mental health and emotional wellness in various ways.
For instance, it is not uncommon for individuals to feel sluggish and moody during a period of lack of physical activity. Additionally, you may find yourself dissatisfied with your body image, which leads to greater issues relating to self-esteem and confidence. Engaging in regular physical activity can help to ease individual stress, provide an energy boost, as well as to improve your self- esteem.
Prescription Medication And Your Mental Health
Your psychological state may be impacted by various kinds of prescription medication for physical complaints. Some may cause depression, delirium, dementia, and changes in mood. These drugs include, but are not limited to, antihistamines, antidepressants, cardiovascular drugs, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, narcotics, and sedatives. Mental decline due to medication is more likely to occur in the elderly. Their bodies have a harder time metabolizing drugs and eliminating them from the body quickly.
There are physical illnesses and conditions that may result in memory loss. Some are well-known while others are not. Memory loss has the potential to significantly diminish your quality of life. It affects your relationships, by causing changes in mood, behavior, and personality. A popular culprit for memory loss is a minor head injury or trauma. Less talked-about, although rare, a deficiency in vitamin B-12 can lead to a condition called pernicious anemia which can cause dementia.
Dementia is a brain disorder that impairs cognitive functioning. Other aspects of physical health that may significantly contribute to the development of dementia include low physical fitness, medication, sleep apnea, AIDS, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors or infections, strokes, chest and urine infections and syphilis (neurosyphilis – rare). Moreover, thyroidism (thyroid disease), whether hyper- (overactive) or hypo- (underactive), may also result in dementia-like symptoms.
Facing A Lifetime Of Illness
Those living with illnesses that are terminal may find it hard to cope with the fact of their increased mortality. This, undoubtedly, often results in individuals experiencing intense emotions, such as anger and sadness. Additionally, those living with non-communicable illnesses may find it hard to come to terms with suffering from the illness for the rest of their life. For instance, it is reported that up to 50% of cancer patients suffer from a mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, and those suffering from Type II diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression. A reduction in quality of life and relationships may also exacerbate this experience.
Changing Our Connection Between Mental Health And Physical Health
Here are a few suggestions for a more holistic approach to your health:
- Make an effort to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Be conscious of having a healthy, balanced diet. In the case of our vegan friends, be sure to eat foods fortified with vitamin B-12 and regularly take your supplements.
- Be more physically active.
- Practice any form of self-care relevant to you.
- Be vigilant about changes in your health and relay them to a health care professional.
- Be keen to recognize shifts in your psychological status, especially in cases where you may need to consult a psychological professional. Living with a terminal or chronic disease can be challenging in itself; take care of your holistic health.
- Stick to all of the above.
So, are any of these points new to you? I know some were for me. The most important thing to take away is that you should not take your health, whether physical, mental, or emotional, lightly. Things may not be as they seem, instead, they could be indicating something more serious. Although you may not be able to prevent, cure or treat everything, there are always healthy ways to cope with the problem. Moreover, strive to have a committed and intimate relationship with your health! ?
Stay conscious and aware.
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