Mental & Physical Health
The diagnosis of physical health problems when mental illness is present is no coincidence. Extensive research in the area has given evidence that mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are associated with increased risk of physical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
This is why it’s so important for psychiatric hospitals to acknowledge the mind-body connection, and offer treatments that apply to the ‘whole self’ of an individual, instead of simply looking at the mental illness in a singular capacity.
In Saloojee’s study, the co-existence of mental and physical health problems is underscored, where the side effects of antipsychotic medication treating mental illness contributed to physical symptoms experienced.
Female patients in the study with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder were found to present with physical symptoms of obesity and high blood pressure, which put them at high risk for developing heart disease.
Depression clinics and much research by specialists in the mental health field have found a distinct relationship between alcoholism and depression. A seemingly endless cycle, whereby a depressed individual drinks excessively to numb the psychological effects of their condition, or an alcoholic develops depression because of the low emotional and psychological state excessive drinking induces.
A large percentage of people living with anxiety disorders are also regular smokers. The habit of excessive cigarette smoking leads to the development of chronic respiratory illnesses, like asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Inversely, someone who experiences asthma attacks is more prone to develop a panic or anxiety disorder.
What To Do
Understanding the connection between mind and body is the first step to mental and physical wellbeing. By taking control of your emotional and physical health, you will in turn be taking care of your mental health.
Communicate feelings in an appropriate manner. By internalizing and ‘bottling’ emotions, we increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Expressing how you feel is a much healthier approach. If you find the situation might be too sensitive to approach on your own, request help from a friend or family member to mediate the process.
Invest in a balanced lifestyle. Try to not obsess about problems that breed negativity. Often the bad weighs us down so much we forget about everything good. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to remain focused on the positive things in your life. Remember to regularly take time
out of stressful situations and do things you enjoy.
Nutrition is key to a healthy body and mind. Be mindful of how you feed your body, taking care to include vital nutrients in your diet on a daily basis. This will fight feelings of bloating and fatigue.
A good exercise program not only benefits your body, but it helps keep an open and clear mind as well. Studies have proven that regular exercise results in better memory, mental clarity, and improved sleep.
The most important thing to remember is that mental illness is treatable, and doesn’t relegate you to living an unfulfilled life. Individuals who feel they might have a problem can do the Self- diagnosis Quiz on our website to determine whether psychiatric intervention is required.
A mental health specialist on our team will then contact you to assist in taking those first steps to achieving mental and physical wellbeing.