The Connection Between Physical and Mental HealthAlyssa
Mental health and physical health have always been linked to each other. Numerous studies have proven that there is a significant connection between physical and mental health. There are several aspects of a person’s physical and mental condition that could simultaneously impact their quality of life. Even the World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”1
As a rehabilitation center that offers mental health care in South Florida, we know that maintaining a healthy mental health and physical health relationship is important. Any decline in one has a direct effect on the other.
Different Ways Mental and Physical Health are Linked
There are many ways in which poor mental health can negatively impact a person’s physical health. Any struggles with physical or mental health may eventually display themselves in a person’s behavior or physical appearance. A consistent digression in mental health could cause a severe decline in the person’s physical wellbeing and vice versa. Mental illness has been linked to problems in the immune system, problems in the heart, psoriasis, and fatigue.
Depression and the Immune System
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Although many people believe that depression only targets a person’s mood, it can also affect a person’s immune system. Depression can affect the immune system by suppressing T cell responses to viruses and bacteria, increasing the chances of getting sick.1 T cells are a type of white blood cell that helps the immune system fight off viruses and infections. Eventually, these T cells become memory T cells, which are trained to respond to certain infections.1 These cells spring into action the moment an individual is infected. Because depression can suppress T cell responses, the person will be more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria that could be deadly.
At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we offer a depression recovery treatment geared toward treating individuals with major depressive disorder. Not only will patients in this program receive care for their disorder, but they will also be taught healthy ways to manage their symptoms in the future.
Anxiety and the Heart
Anxiety is an intense and persistent feeling of worry and fear about normal, everyday situations. When an individual experiences anxiety or a panic attack, they may experience physical symptoms like rapid breathing, sweating, and rapid heart rate. Although everyone may experience anxiety for certain situations, persistent episodes of anxiety may indicate underlying mental health problems. The effects of anxiety on the heart support the connection between physical and mental health. In a 2015 study conducted by the University of Sydney, researchers concluded that high levels of anxiety increase the chances of having a heart attack.3 Anxiety affects a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, blood vessels, and blood clotting, all of which are associated with heart attacks.3
Heart attacks and other health conditions that may result from severe anxiety can be prevented with professional treatment. Our anxiety management treatment has helped numerous patients discover the source of their anxiety and learn healthy ways to manage their symptoms.
Stress and Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply faster than the average rate, causing bumpy red patches with white scales. Although its physical symptoms are the most obvious, psoriasis is also an auto-immune disease that is commonly triggered by stress. Unfortunately, managing the symptoms of psoriasis can be difficult. Many individuals with this condition are unhappy about their physical symptoms, causing more distress and more flare-ups. Mental health treatment and counseling can help people in this situation manage both their physical and mental symptoms.
Poor Mental Health and Fatigue
Many people try to write off their fatigue, but physical tiredness is often a result of poor mental health. Symptoms of mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders could cause physical tiredness and exhaustion. Individuals who are battling with a mental illness also become tired more quickly. A study conducted in 2009 reported that subjects who had poor mental health became tired and quit the physical task they were assigned earlier than other subjects. Researchers concluded that mental illness could limit a person’s physical tolerance.2
As a mental health rehabilitation facility, we understand the connection between mental and physical health. If you or a loved one are battling with mental illness, call us now at 561-220-3981 to find out how we can help you.