4 Ways Physical Health Affects Mental Health

Why you may not realize it, your physical and mental health are closely linked. This can be seen in many ways. When you start to understand the connection, you will start to realize when there are problems that need to be worked on. The beauty of this relationship is that when you start working in one area, it will affect the other area. For instance, working on physical health will improve your overall mental health and vice versa.

There are other conditions that can also affect a person’s sense of well-being. A good example is psoriasis. As a dermatological condition, it causes red bumps and sores on the skin. The condition worsens when a person feels stressed or anxious. This can lead to isolation and fear of rejection, embarrassment, and depression. Another is knee and hip pain which WebMD states that 50% of older adults experience.

Impact of Mental Health on Physical Wellbeing

Your mental health can impact the way that you feel physically. In fact, a good mental state and positive outlook can prevent the risk of strokes and heart attacks, studies show. The converse is true, however. A poor mental outlook or health status can cause health issues and lead to harmful behaviors.

1. Chronic Illnesses

When someone has a debilitating accident or develops a chronic disease, there are several mental health issues that can develop. For instance, when someone develops cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, or any other condition that limits their movement, they can develop feelings of isolation and worthlessness. For colorectal cancer patients, at least one in five is between 20 and 54 years of age. This can lead to depression, paranoia, unhealthy eating, and drinking, as well as other situations.

The limited access to friends and family can make this more acute. It can also increase the mortality rate when dealing with diseases such as heart disease or cancer.

2. Unhealthy Habits: Smoking

When someone is feeling anxiety, isolation, or depression, they are more likely to smoke. This can compound health conditions. People experiencing these feelings are more likely to smoke more cigarettes than others.

One of the things that depression causes is lower amounts of dopamine in the brain. This chemical is responsible for feelings of positive well-being. Nicotine increases the production and release of dopamine which can provide a temporary feeling of relief from depression.

3. Sleep Issues

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can create sleep difficulties. It can be in the form of sleep apnea, insomnia, or other problems that either don’t allow a person to fall asleep or wake up frequently. Of people experiencing mental health issues, between 50-80% have sleep problems versus the 10-18% the rest of the population experiences.

4. Health Care Access May Be Limited

Healthcare access is extremely important. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), the average hospital stay can cost $10,700. This is beyond the reach of most individuals, particularly those with chronic illnesses where the costs can exceed this figure. It may be more difficult for those with mental health issues to get the care they need and take prescriptions as prescribed.

Caring For Your Overall Health

There are steps that you can take to improve your physical and mental health. Working on one area helps in the other. Here are some examples:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Get help when you need it.

Physical health and mental health are closely linked. Paying attention to how you are doing and seeking out help when you need it will keep you feeling better. Being proactive will not only help with your prognosis, but it can keep you mentally centered. Reaching out to friends and family as a support system can delay or prevent feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression. Your physical and mental health are important to take care of every day.