by Marli Naidoo
Physical and mental health are regularly placed in two entirely different categories. However, the two should not be separated . Problems with physical health can have an impact on your mental health. In the same way mental ailments can influence your physical health negatively.
It has been found that people with the highest level of mental emergency have a 32% bigger chance of dying of cancer. Depression can also be associated with a heightened chance of developing coronary heart diseases.
Schizophrenia is associated with a dual chance of developing heart diseases, and a threefold risk of dying of respiratory diseases.
There is a clear reason for these statistics: it is less than likely that people with mental conditions will receive the necessary physical health care. This includes the regular testing of blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. These simple tests can pick up physical health conditions earlier and treatment can begin sooner.
People with chronic physical conditions are however also inclined to suffer from depression and other mental ailments.
Psoriasis is a clear example of the destructive effect that a physical condition can have on a patient’s overall wellbeing. People with psoriasis get red, flaking sores on their skin. This is a motor-immune condition that can cause emotional stress. 85% of psoriasis patients experience exasperation with their condition, one third has heightened anxiety and depression, many patients feel rejected and humiliated, and one third experiences problems with loved ones. The big problem with psoriasis is that it not only causes stress, but that stress triggers it. This condition is unfortunately still being treated on a physical level only. With the help of a counsellor or psychologist a patient can learn to handle stress better, and in so doing improve his psoriasis and overall wellbeing.
Of course, lifestyle factors also come into play. These factors can affect your health at the physical and mental level.
Research has proven that regular exercise will not only keep you healthy, but that it will also result in the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemical in your brain. You need not do heavy exercise to experience the positive results. Taking a walk or gardening can bring about the same effect.
Good nutrition in the shape of a balanced diet can perform wonders in the prevention and management of depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.
Smoking heightens your dopamine levels temporarily, but also switches off the brain’s natural mechanism that manufactures dopamine.
A healthy lifestyle can therefore give you a healthier life on all levels. However, it is important that you yourself also make sure that you get help where necessary to ensure your physical and mental wellbeing. Speak to your doctor about your physical wellbeing and with your psychologist about how you feel.
Mental Health: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-health-and-mental-health
Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-relationship-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Canadian Mental Health Association: https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/connection-between-mental-and-physical-health/