Many health experts are now advocating for people to look at health in a more holistic manner. Most individuals examine their health in a segmented fashion, believing their emotional and mental state would not have any significant effect on their physical health or that any of their emotional issues don’t manifest in a physical way. However, they are closely related. Here are some ways that your mental health can affect your physical health=:
Development of chronic illnesses
Studies have shown that individuals suffering from depression develop chronic diseases, which can include asthma, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular complications. Individuals exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia are also found to have an increased predisposition to suffer from a number of respiratory and even cardiac diseases. What’s worse is that the treatment process becomes even more challenging because of compliance issues and a high mortality rate.
Those with unstable mental health would also suffer from sleep problems, like sleep apnea or insomnia. A majority (80%) of people diagnosed with mental health issues report sleeping problems, and this can become a double-edged sword that can affect individuals as worsening sleep conditions can also make them sink deeper into their mental health problems.
Headaches and migraines
Stress can also cause individuals to experience frequent headaches and even worsening migraines. Physiologically, the body will react to a stress stimulus via the fight or flight response. As such, it triggers the body to release chemicals that would initiate physical changes, particularly in the blood vessels. Dilating blood vessels can cause tension headaches.
Similarly, stress can also cause physiological effects on the gut, causing the muscles to tense and cause constipation. Studies also show that constipation is a frequent symptom experienced by psychiatric patients. The prevalence rate is 36.3% and 57.7% for schizophrenic patients and depressive individuals, respectively. This is why these patients are often treated with laxatives, which can be bought online through shops like Wellspring Meds (wellspringmeds.com) to make sure they pass their stools and remove harmful toxins from their bodies.
Another common physical manifestation of mental health issues is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that causes stomach contents to result in health complications. A study in 2015 found that patients diagnosed with anxiety and depression are at an increased risk of experiencing symptoms of GERD. When allowed to persist, GERD can impact an individual’s overall quality of life, including causing sleeplessness and even worsening of depressive symptoms.
Preventing the Vicious Cycle
When individuals with mental health issues start experiencing physical symptoms, it only causes them to suffer more, creating a vicious cycle of illnesses. Here’s how you can help prevent this from happening:
Staying physically active
It’s essential to keep an active lifestyle. It may be difficult for those suffering from depression. Still, research shows that doing any form of exercise can help your body to release happiness-inducing chemicals that help you feel energized, alert, and alive.
Filling your body with food items with high nutritional value can also help you address some of the physical manifestations. Eat healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables. Fill your body with good food so it will be easier for your body to recover from any health issues.
People with mental health concerns should be given more attention as they are more prone to suffer from chronic and even more debilitating diseases.