Mental Health Vs Physical Health: How both Affect Us: Health is often taken for granted, and its value is not fully understood until it is lost. During the past few decades, there has been a re-awakening that health is a fundamental human right, and therefore, the attainment of the highest level of health is the most important social goal.
Mental health impacts on the physical body are numerous, and understanding one may be necessary for understanding the other. Researchers don’t fully comprehend how closely linked the human mind and body are. The way a person thinks can have a big impact on how their body works.
According to W.H.O. (1948), health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity. The W.H.O. definition considers three specific dimensions of health — physical, mental and social. These three aspects of health are interdependent and influence each other, determining an individual’s health status at a particular moment. A person who enjoys health at the three planes viz., physical, mental and social well-being is said to be in a state of ‘positive health (Jaiswal, 2013; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000).
i. Physical Health
Physical health is a state in which every cell and every organ is functioning at optimum capacity and in perfect harmony with the rest of the body. This can be achieved by proper nutrition, a balanced diet and regular exercise.
ii. Mental Health
Mental health is a state where the individual feels a sense of perfect well-being and mastery over his environment. A mentally healthy person is free from internal conflicts, well-adjusted with others, and has good self-control. He faces problems and tries to solve them intelligently.
A mental disorder can impair physiological function and shorten life expectancy by 20 years. Individuals’ ability to make decisions and chronic combat diseases might be harmed by poor mental health (Jaiswal, 2013).
iii. Social Health
Social health is a state in which optimal individual capacities for participation in the social system. It focuses on the wellbeing of the ‘whole person in the context of his social network.
The Effects of Mental Health on Physical Health
The following implications of mental health issues can have an adverse impact on physical health:
- Genetic Effect: The genes that enhance the risk of mental illness may also be linked to various physical conditions.
- Lack of Motivation: Depression and other mental health issues can cause a decline in energy levels, making it harder for patients to care for themselves.
- A Lack of Assistance: People with mental diseases are assumed not to make proper lifestyle adjustments. Thus they may not receive the necessary care to help them avoid physical ailments. Healthcare providers may also mistakenly believe that some physical symptoms result from mental illness and pay little attention.
- Diminishing Concentration: Concentration and planning skills are both affected by mental health issues. Patients will find it difficult to schedule medical visits or keep them if they have already scheduled them.
Mental Health Issues That Could Affect Your Physical Health
The following mental health issues could have a big impact on your physical health:
Depression is a frequent mood condition characterised by a lack of desire and interest in previously pleasurable activities. It can alter one’s appetite, resulting in weight reduction or gain. Unexplained joint or muscle discomfort, headaches, and breast tenderness are possible side effects.
Individuals suffering from depression are more likely to make bad lifestyle choices, such as consuming unhealthy foods or leading a sedentary lifestyle. People who suffer from severe depression are more likely to get cardiovascular disease.
Irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes are associated with depression, damaging the immune system and increasing the risk of irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes. It may also lower libido, significantly impacting sexual function and health. Patients who are depressed may have difficulty sleeping, leaving them agitated and tired throughout the day (International Labour Organisation. ILO, 1999).
Depression has also been connected to gastrointestinal issues. Constipation, nausea, and diarrhoea are common complaints among depressed patients.
Anxiety Disorders are a type of anxiety that affects people of all ages. Anxiety affects almost everyone in some way. On the other hand, anxiety disorder is diagnosed when severe and interferes with daily life. The illness impacts physical health in multiple ways.
Anxiety rarely leads to weight loss due to a loss of appetite. Constipation, diarrhoea, stomach soreness, and nausea are possible side effects. Anxiety may be linked to the onset of irritable bowel syndrome in certain people.
Anxiety can cause palpitations, heart palpitations, and chest pain. It also raises the risk of heart disease and hypertension. This syndrome can lead to fast, shallow breathing, making asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worse (COPD) (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000).
The fight or flight reaction is a defence system that prepares a person to react effectively in dangerous situations. After a difficult situation, the body returns to its normal state. Constant anxiety will commonly activate this response, affecting the body’s capacity to return to normal. As a result, the individual’s immune system will be reduced, making them vulnerable to various ailments (International Labour Organisation. ILO, 1999).
Eating disorders are mental illnesses that influence people’s perceptions of food and bodies. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the three most common eating disorders.
Anorexia is a disorder characterised by an excessive fear of gaining weight, which leads to poor eating habits. Low blood pressure, tiredness, loss of muscle mass, hypothermia, and swelling extremities are all life-threatening symptoms of the illness. Bulimia is a disorder characterised by binge eating followed by undesirable weight loss practices (vomiting, fasting, compulsive exercising, enemas, laxatives, and diuretics). Dental cavities, irregular heartbeat, dehydration, heart attack, gastroparesis, and stomach ulcers are all side symptoms of this illness (International Labour Organisation. ILO, 1999).
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that impairs one’s capacity to think, feel, and act rationally. It is marked by hallucinations, delusions, disorganised speech, and cognitive difficulties.
According to research, people with schizophrenia have an elevated risk of abdominal obesity, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
How to Look After Your Mental and Physical Well-Being or Health?
Steps to ensure physical and mental wellness should be included in holistic healthcare. Here are a few strategies to look after your emotional and physical well-being:
Consistent Physical Activity
Exercise keeps the body fit, but it also helps improve mood and prevent mental illnesses like sadness and anxiety. Regular exercise of 15 to 30 minutes five times per week improves mental and physical health.
Healthy Eating Habits
An unhealthy diet raises the risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of water. Added sweets, processed meals, and harmful fats should all be avoided. Read here for more about Healthy Breakfast For Weight Loss: Best Food To Lose Fat
Get Enough Sleep
Stress and other mental health conditions are linked to an inconsistent sleep schedule. Adults should stick to a consistent sleep pattern and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Seek Professional Assistance
Mental illnesses are difficult to diagnose. If someone suspects they may be suffering from a mental health problem, they should seek professional help right once. Early detection and management are critical for preventing a mental health problem from becoming a physical problem.
Mental and physical health are inextricably linked, and one’s status can significantly impact the other. As a result, people should not prioritise their physical health over their mental health, or vice versa. Because total health encompasses both the mind and the body, you must be deliberate in supporting both.
That was all there was to it for today. I hope you found the information in this post useful.Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
- International Labour Organisation. ILO. (1999). Decent work. Report of the Director-General. International Labour Conference, 87th Session 1999. Geneva: International Labour Office.
- Jaiswal, A. (2013). “Health and Nutritional Status of a Primitive Tribe of Madhya Pradesh: Bhumia” Global Journal of Human Social Science, History Archaeology & Anthropology, 13: 1, 15-19.
- Jaiswal, A. (2013). “Anthropo-Medical Profile of Textile workers” Alfa Publishers, New Delhi, 1-17.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2000). National Occupational Research Agenda: 21 priorities for the 21st century. Washington, D.C.: NIOSH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- World Health Organization. 1948. The World Health Report. Official Records, 2:100. Geneva.