How Your Mental Health Can Affect You Physically

June 6, 2017

“Mental health” is a term professionals use to describe the condition of the mind and inner emotions. Your mental health state is contingent on your genetics, environment, life history, and even physical health. You have to know yourself, your habits, tendencies, and moods to really know if your mental health is in imbalance. Poor mental health state can worsen if you do not address it. It can also leak into the physical realm and cause illness in other forms. Physical health can also deteriorate as your mental state does so keeping a balance in your mind and between these two realms becomes even more important. The following are five common conditions you can develop because of mental health problems. Talk to your doctor or a psychiatrist for more treatment options and let them know if any of these physical ailments have manifested as a result of mental health problems.


Recurring Migraines

Stress is one of the leading causes of migraines, according to Mayo Clinic. Migraines are powerful and painfully throbbing headaches that can bring the strongest man to his knees. In fact, they often take people out of work for at least one day. Some of the most common symptoms of a stress related migraine are blurred vision, pain on the side of the head, nausea, and vomiting. Keeping stress levels down as much as possible is paramount to avoiding migraines. It may mean changing a stressful work environment or moving to a new location altogether. If you get migraines a lot, be sure to tell your doctor and see what treatments they might recommend first. If you know it stems from a mental issue, let them know that as well.


Malnutrition and Dehydration

Mental health problems often cause the sufferer to adopt improper eating patterns. A severely distraught person may not eat at all, for example. The events that are going on in the person’s life may obliterate the thought to eat the appropriate amount of food or drink the right amount of water. Signs of malnutrition are weight loss, mood changes, and poor concentration. Signs of dehydration are bad breath, odd cravings, and fatigue. It goes the other way as well. Victims of anxiety, depression and other disorders often overeat or binge and can gain or fluctuate in weight. If you’ve noticed your body and eating habits change drastically with your mood or mental state, be sure to tell your doctor and see if therapy might be an option for you.


Addictions and Secondary Addiction-Related Illnesses

Sometimes, poor mental health can drive a person to get involved with drug or alcohol addictions as a way of self-medicating. This could be after some kind of trauma you don’t know how to deal with, or just losing yourself to drink to lower feelings of anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, addictions cause additional health problems and can be very dangerous. Alcohol addiction, for example, cause liver problems and bloating. People who use crystal meth or other dangerous drugs are likely to lose many of their teeth and lose a massive amount of weight. The personnel at an addiction recovery center or sober living home can help patients come back from that place of sorrow. If you know someone struggling with addiction see if you can be the catalyst for getting them the help they need.


Ulcers and Digestive Problems

Worrying about finances, romance, work, and other issues can take a toll on your gut. Many cases of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and the like have been associated with stress and mental distress. The signs of stomach ulcers are extreme weight loss, pain in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, and bloating. The digestive problems that stem from poor mental health can cause other problems like vitamin or nutrient deficiency as well. Talk to your doctor if your stomach pain is persistent and mirrors your mental state.


Fatigue and Malaise

Finally, fatigue and malaise are common in people who are depressed or otherwise in poor mental states. They are often tired all the time, but medical specialists cannot find anything that physically point to the cause. Blood tests for anemia may come back negative. All the person’s nutrients may be at good levels as well. The issue may just be poor mental health. Malaise is different from fatigue. It describes a number of feelings such as uneasiness, illness, discomfort, or the blues in general. It is very common in people who have mental health issues and often goes hand-in-hand with depression. 


Now that you can see some of the ways mental health can affect you physically, you can avoid some of these issues by engaging in processes that are positive for you and tend to any mental health problems as soon as they occur. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any of these issues you might have and seek treatment whenever possible.

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