Being healthy is an all-encompassing term that looks at your physical and mental health. As such, there’s a strong link between mental health and physical health. In fact, your mental health has a big impact on your physical health. Below, we look at various mental health effects on physical health.
Affects Your Sleep
The state of your mental health can impact your sleeping patterns. Different mental health problems can affect your sleep in various ways. For instance, if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may find it difficult to quiet your sleep, which makes it harder to relax. Similarly, depression can cause excessive sleeping, and you can end up sleeping the whole day or being unable to sleep at all.
If you’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, you might find yourself being unable to sleep throughout the night because of nightmares. You might find yourself avoiding going to sleep just to avoid these night terrors. Those who suffer from manic depressive disorders may feel like they have too much energy to sleep. Although they may not feel tired, lack of sleep for long periods of time can end up taking a toll on their health.
Overall, the mental health effects on physical health include insomnia, bad dreams, oversleeping, and undersleeping. Remember, it’s recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep to stay healthy. Oversleeping can just be as bad as undersleeping because it can cause a wide range of issues, such as puffy eyes/face, inflammation, headaches, and increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. If your mental health is affecting your sleep, you can make positive changes by going to bed at regular hours. Avoid drinking caffeine just before bed because of its stimulating effects. Instead, make sure your sleeping environment is restful, dark, cool, and quiet. If you have trouble falling asleep, you can use strategies such as listening to calming music or meditation to help you sleep.
Increases the Risk of Chronic Diseases
There’s a very strong link between mental health disorders and chronic diseases. By chronic diseases, we mean diseases that affect you long-term. For instance, if you’re suffering from chronic pain, it means the pain never really goes away and will affect you for prolonged periods of time. But how do mental health disorders lead to chronic illnesses? Generally, people who suffer from chronic diseases have a hard time taking care of themselves. Without a certain level of self-care and the adoption of unhealthy lifestyle habits, this increases the risk of mental health issues. Mental health effects on physical health are caused by unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, substances abuse, and more, all of which put people at risk of suffering from a chronic disease.
Sometimes, mental health disorders predispose the body to certain diseases. When a person suffers from depression, their lifestyle can increase the risk of diabetes, which happens when the body has a resistance to insulin. If a person is already suffering from an illness such as heart disease or chronic respiratory disease, adding mental health issues into the mix can make it difficult to regain physical health. All in all, mental health and chronic illnesses often go hand in hand, and one can make the other worse. If you’re suffering from mental health problems, the best way to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses is to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and avoid unhealthy eating habits like excessive drinking and smoking.
Can Lead to Decreased Energy
As mentioned, mental health effects on physical health include insomnia or oversleeping. This can result in lethargy or feeling tired. When people feel lethargic, they’re rarely motivated to do anything. Even the lightest form of exercise can feel like they are overtaxing their body. This is unhealthy because your bodies need to stay active for you to feel good. It’s a vicious cycle because when you’re not motivated to do anything, this can take a toll on your mental health. Going about your daily activities gives you a purpose in life and provides stimulation.
So if your mental health problems are not addressed, and they’re robbing you of your energy, the very fact that you no longer have the desire to do anything puts you at risk of developing other mental problems like depression. One of the symptoms associated with depression is a dip in energy. You may find yourself turning down your friends when they ask you to join them for social events. In turn, this leads to loneliness, hopelessness, and other negative effects that fuel the depression even more. You may stop doing everyday physical tasks like eating, which will negatively affect your physical health.
Causes Unhealthy Changes In Weight
Many people that suffer from mental health disorders are overweight. This is one of the most noticeable mental health effects on physical health. When you get right down to it, it’s not hard to see how mental health can end up having such a significant impact on weight. To begin with, dealing with mental health disorders makes it difficult to eat healthily or to get enough exercise. On top of that, you may be prescribed some medications that will affect your appetite significantly, preventing you from achieving a healthy weight loss. People that suffer from mental health disorders, such as depression, can experience a spike in their appetite leading to overeating.
Mental health symptoms that lead to overeating include a lack of energy or a loss of interest in previously enjoyed cooking activities. The person might no longer enjoy cooking, so they eat what is readily available, which often turns out to be junk food. People dealing with mental health issues can suffer from stomach and digestive issues caused by stress, which leads to undereating and unwanted weight loss. Perhaps they may lose interest in eating and keep forgetting meal times or only eating enough food to get by. If you’re overweight, losing weight can be a good thing, but if the weight is lost in a short amount of time, this can place a great strain on the body.
Can Make It Harder to Deal With Substance Abuse
If you’re dealing with substance abuse problems, mental health problems will only make the problem worse. This is a very difficult situation to deal with because it’s already hard to deal with any form of substance abuse, whether it’s alcoholism or drug addiction. Dealing with substance abuse requires mental resilience, which explains why someone with a mental disorder like depression might not be able to cope with substance abuse treatment. It makes it worse that the symptoms of substance abuse are almost the same as those associated with mental health illness. If a person with a mental health problem doesn’t get the help they need, it means their substance abuse problem will have a bigger negative impact on their health.
For instance, a person will be taking drugs that are harmful to their health and mental health issues but won’t get professional help, which makes it harder to treat their substance abuse problem. This explains why some couples end up divorcing if the other refuses to get the help they need. The good news is that if you’re dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues, these co-occurring disorders don’t have to take over your life. You can regain control of your life by following advice from experts. Start by getting the support treatment you need while also focusing on self-help methods to improve your mental health.
Can Prevent One From Seeking Medical Help
Although mental health problems are quite common, it’s unfortunate that people dealing with mental disorders don’t often get the healthcare they deserve. This is one of the biggest contributors to mental health effects on physical health. For starters, there are many reasons why someone would be unable to get the medical help they deserve. If they are unable to work because of their mental health, then they may not be able to afford the healthcare they need, and this makes their physical condition worse. Also, it might be difficult to prioritize medical care if one is in a bad mental space.
The other thing is that some mental health medicines have an undesirable effect on physical health. Even after active ingredient registration and approval, some medicines have negative side effects that may push someone who is mentally ill to take them. As a clarifier, getting most medicines prescribed to people with mental health disorders has helped many people live better lives. However, people respond to medicines differently. If you have experienced adverse effects after taking one type of medication, don’t be discouraged. All you have to do is speak to your healthcare provider, and they will help you find the right medicine for you.
Can Prevent The Adoption of Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Mental health illnesses can get in the way of living a healthy lifestyle overall. This is one of the mental health effects on physical health. So what can one do to address mental health problems and lead a healthier lifestyle? Think of the tank cleaning. By cleaning a dirty tank, you can now store clean water without contaminating it. Similarly, the trick is to address any mental health problems you may have first, so they don’t get in the way of your physical health. You should also address any other issues that may be contributing to your mental health issues. For instance, if family squabbles are affecting your life, consider getting a family mediation expert that will help you resolve contentious matters.
Similarly, if your family is in the middle of a legal battle that’s stressing you, consider hiring an expert family lawyer to help you settle the issue. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting you and your health first. Find out what you need to do to start addressing mental health issues. Sometimes, a little self-care is all that’s needed – taking some time out to get a relaxing massage or treating yourself to something else. If you have loved ones that are dealing with mental health disorders, you can help support them by recommending tried and tested treatments, such as memory care, meditation, and therapy.
Can Decrease Your Life Expectancy
When you factor in all the mental health effects on physical health, you’ll find that mental illnesses can ultimately impact a person’s life expectancy. As mentioned, people with mental health disorders are at risk of chronic diseases. Therefore, they suffer from chronic physical conditions more than people without mental health disorders. These chronic diseases include diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, mental health disorders make people vulnerable and expose them to infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. For instance, mental health issues can make it difficult to address drug addiction, which pushes the person to engage in risky behaviors, hence the high rate of infection among people with severe mental disorders.
It just doesn’t end there. When you consider the fact that mental health disorders also cause disturbed sleeping patterns and that some medication for treating mental disorders causes hormone imbalances, decreased energy, anxiety, obesity, and unhealthy lifestyle habits, it’s easy to see why this results in a weakened immune system. When the immune function is not optimized, it means physical health is poor, and this can shorten a person’s life expectancy considerably. Besides that, there’s a high suicide rate among people with mental health disorders. Suicide is especially prevalent among those who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, or substance abuse. This is why it can’t be said enough that those who experience mental health problems need to seek help as early as possible so they can start living a healthier life.
These mental health effects on physical health can lead to lower quality of life. Knowing how your mental health affects your physical health helps you see the importance of getting help as soon as possible. Mental health problems can be addressed through therapy, mindfulness training, and adopting a healthier lifestyle. The bottom line is you should prioritize your mental health by getting the support you need and using the right tools to start living a better life.