Effects of Deteriorating Mental Health on Physical Health

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effects of Deteriorating Mental Health on Physical Health

According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), health is a ‘state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.’

We perceive the mind and body differently, but there’s a definite connection interlinking the two. One simply can’t progress towards better health with declining mental or physical health. That’s because a worsening mental illness leaves its impact on your physical health, too.

The trends are changing. In the past, mental health issues were discarded and swept under the carpet. With the social media advancements and campaigns on mental health awareness, we’re finally seeing the need to address these issues and bring improvement. However, there is still much unawareness about the effects of mental health on physical health.


How Can Mental Health Affect Physical Health?

Previously conducted studies have found that a healthy mindset prevents the risks of cardiovascular diseases and strokes. If dealt poorly, mental health issues can lead to various physical ailments.

The mental health conditions commonly found in individuals that may lead to physical health issues include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders


The risk of physical health deterioration increases after getting diagnosed with one or another of these psychological problems. In some cases, mental health issues remain undiagnosed, leading to unaddressed treatments and worsening conditions.


#1 Aggravated Chronic Diseases

Mental health conditions don’t only make dealing with chronic illnesses difficult; they aggravate those conditions too. For example, depression has been linked with several chronic diseases. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Asthma

To name a few.

Similarly, Schizophrenia has been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


#2 Smoking

Stress, anxiety, and depression all lead to finding a solution to curb the negative feeling. Unfortunately, in such cases, people undergoing these conditions resort to smoking.

People with mental health issues have a lower level of dopamine in the brain (dopamine is a hormone that influences the brain to think positively by producing happy feelings). So, when a person smokes, the nicotine inside the cigarette triggers dopamine production, making the individual feel calm. That’s why people battling depression are more likely to smoke than the general population. However, it leads to grave consequences.

The most common is an addiction to smoking. The long-term effect of smoking can be observed on the lungs, with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) prevalent in smokers.


#3 Sleep Disorders

Only 10% to 18% of the general population suffers from disturbed sleeping patterns. In comparison, 50%-80% of people battling mental health issues are diagnosed with sleep disorders. In turn, sleep problems can exacerbate an existing mental health issue, further worsening the condition.


Tips to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

Regaining physical and mental health is a gradual process. In addition, improving your general health includes caring for both.

Here are a few tips to get you started:


-Taking a proper diet

Junk and fast food can make you feel too full in the stomach but does nothing to provide energy. So, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can fill you with the right nutrients you need to feel better physically and mentally.

Remember – balance is the key.


-Getting regular exercises

In addition to food, keeping yourself physically fit requires effort on your part. And it’s not about reserving hours on end each day. Instead, try with a 10-minute marker each day to walk at your favorite spot and see the difference it creates.


-Avoiding drugs or alcohol

Depression and anxiety make people looking for alternatives to find peace. While alcohol may provide that relief, it’s temporary. The long-term effects are too aggravating for your body and mind to handle. That’s why we suggest starting little by little to abstain from any substance that may lead you to harm.


-Adopting good sleeping habits

Experts suggest six to eight hours of sleep to function properly. In addition, taking a nap-time in between the day is always helpful to regain your energy mid-day.


It’s Never Too Late to Seek Help

Life is beautiful when we have our loved ones in it. So, when you feel down or feel like the world is closing in upon you, talking to a family member or friend can help you feel better.

Of course, there’s always the option of seeking professional help. If you or a loved one are suffering from mental health issues, Central Florida Neuropsychology has its doors wide open. We have expert therapists on a call away to assist you towards a healthy mental and physical life.

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