August 5, 2021

The Connection Between Health Issues and Mental Illness

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Health is an overall state of mental, physical and social well being in which infirmity and illness are absent. The concept of health has been around for various purposes over the years. For those of us who grew up during the great depression, it was necessary to be resilient and outgoing. Today, we live in a much more comfortable and relaxed world and health is something that we take for granted.

Mental well-being is the ability to enjoy one’s life, both as a result of healthy practices and self-care. As we age, mental well-being is no longer as important as physical health. However, many people suffer from poor mental health even as they remain healthy physically. This is because stress, anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, insomnia and other common health conditions tend to impact our mental well-being, as well. If left unchecked, these issues can take a toll on the body, resulting in increased blood pressure, high cholesterol and even heart disease.

Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to poor mental health, even as they contribute to other physical conditions. Stress and anxiety are very common triggers for physical illnesses. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to poor nutritional intake and can cause a person to become susceptible to diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.

The way that you feel emotionally is mirrored in your physical appearance. Emotionally healthy people are enthusiastic, happy and look forward to doing things. Conversely, those who are depressed, anxious, angry and tense are physically unhealthy. Depression, for example, is often a physical condition that can be successfully treated. However, prolonged or chronic stress is often a mental condition that cannot be treated. It can actually lead to serious physical complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure and even cancer.

Mental health conditions, on the other hand, have much larger effects on public health and the ability of individuals to lead productive lives. Anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders can lead to higher levels of physical illness, such as cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, arthritis, diabetes and cancer. In addition, anxiety can exacerbate the symptoms of some physical diseases. For example, higher levels of anxiety have been correlated with greater incidence and severity of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Anxiety can also lead to lower levels of sexual desire and intimacy, and it can negatively impact one’s immune system and cause one to become more susceptible to diseases like HIV/AIDS.

The connection between physical illness and mental illness is not a new one. In fact, several theories have been put forth to explain why there is such a link. According to one theory, individuals who suffer from physical illnesses are at a higher risk of developing psychological illnesses as well. Additionally, it has been shown that individuals who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop psychological illness. Similarly, people who experience significant losses may be more likely to develop a mental illness as well. However, researchers are not sure why the link between these two health issues exists, but they do agree that both should be addressed to improve the quality of life for all patients.

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