• How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

    Mental health and physical health are indisputably interconnected, therefore most physical health issues will present mental symptoms and visa versa. One of the most obvious examples of this occurring is when we experience a headache or stomachache as a result of stress or nervousness. Here are some additional examples of how mental health affects physical health:

    • How Mental Health Affects Physical Health-375Psoriasis, a skin condition that if often triggered by stress, is a perfect example of how mental health affects physical health. When someone has psoriasis, it can lead to more anxiety and even depression, which only further inflames the skin condition. Even though this is true, most doctors treat psoriasis simply as a physical condition, and by overlooking the emotional aspects of the disease, it can be very difficult to heal.
    • One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology demonstrated that anger can lead to heart arrhythmia, with people who had trouble coping with anger having ten times more risk of experiencing future arrhythmias than those without anger issues.
    • White-coat syndrome is a real condition that occurs when a person’s blood pressure increases as they enter the doctor’s office due to the anxiety felt by visiting the doctor.
    • People who are clinically depressed often experience physical symptoms, such as constipation, fatigue, insomnia, and lack of appetite.

    It’s important that you include your mental symptoms when discussing with your doctor what you are experiencing. Most people focus only on their physical symptoms, assuming that the mental symptoms are not related, but that is rarely the case. Oftentimes, the root of the issue is mental or emotional instead of physical, so by not even mentioning your mental symptoms, you won’t be able to find and fix the real issue.

    There are many physical symptoms that often come up as a result of mental and emotional issues. Some of them include headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, constipation, diarrhea, appetite changes, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, sweating, chest pain, back pain, neck pain, insomnia, dry mouth, immune issues, high blood pressure and even general aches and pains.

    How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

    The body and mind communicate between the nerve impulses in the brain and biochemical reactions in the body. In other words, when you have a thought or feeling, the brain uses chemicals and electric impulses to induce a reaction in the body.

    Mind-body medicine uses natural treatments like meditation, yoga, hypnosis and biofeedback to relax the mind and promote a healthy mind and body. These types of treatments have been used more and more over the past several years to assist with health conditions like heart disease, arthritis and chronic pain conditions.

    Here are 3 tips for improving your mental (and therefore physical) health:

    1. Exercise – Exercise is not only important for physical health but also for mental health, because it increases the release of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that lead to feelings of greater happiness and energy.
    1. Nutrition – Nutrition impacts every function of the body, including the mind. Have you ever noticed that certain foods make you feel miserable, lthargic or foggy in the mind, while others make you feel happy, focused and energetic? Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel mentally and physically.
    1. Don’t Smoke – Nicotine interferes with the balance of chemicals in the brain. For example, it temporarily increases dopamine levels, which can make people feel good at first, but by doing so, it also stops the brain’s natural production of dopamine, which makes people feel like they need to smoke more and more so that they can feel good.

     

    Sources:

    http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/emotional-wellbeing/mental-health/mind-body-connection-how-your-emotions-affect-your-health.html

    http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/P/physical-health-mental-health/

    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/25/the-connection-between-mental-physical-health/

    http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/connecting-dots.aspx

    https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter08/articles/winter08pg4.html

    http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/the-mind-body-soul-connection

    http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/02/24/manage-anger-for-heart-health/4311.html

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