How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

The mind and body is often viewed as separate entities, but in order to maximize a patient’s well-being, healthcare professionals must recognize the relationship between the two. Studies have shown that physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand, possibly leading to an increased risk of some conditions.

Below, you can find how mental health affects physical health and instances when this may occur.

Understanding the Impact

In a 2012 Harvard University analysis, they found that optimism may correlate with cardiovascular health and may even decrease the rate of the disease progression.

“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight,” said lead author Julia Boehm.

Furthermore, Oxford University psychiatrists have found that serious mental illnesses can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, which may be equivalent or worse than heavy smoking.

Dr. Seena Fazel of the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University dove deeper into the topic and said: “’Many causes of mental health problems also have physical consequences, and mental illness worsens the prognosis of a range of physical illnesses, especially heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”

The ties

Here are some mental health disorders and activities that have proven to have ties with physical health and mental health.

Schizophrenia is associated with:

  • double the risk of death from heart disease
  • three times the risk of death from respiratory disease.

Exercising can promote:

  • Lessening anxiety
  • Improving mood
  • Enhancing mental health

Depression is associated with:

  • Trouble with memory or decisions
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Insomnia
  • Weakened immune system

Anxiety can bring:

  • Upset stomach
  • Breathing problems
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Extreme fatigue

In conclusion, there are ties between mental health and physical health, and important ones at that. Many, especially healthcare professionals and individuals, should recognize this and seek care just as much for physical health as mental health.

Medical / Psychiatric Practitioners, for example, should work together for the ultimate best care for their patient, this is called wrap-around services from differing providers. Parents and individuals should also seek a thorough treatment by combining therapy and physical check-ups. if you are interested in seeking a mental health professional, please reach out to me through my contact page.

Resources: “Many mental illnesses reduce life expectancy more than heavy smoking” by University of Oxford

The effects of anxiety on the body by Healthline

The effects of depression in your body by Healthline

“How mental health affects physical health” by Bradley University

Physical health and mental health by The Mental health Foundation

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