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Eventhough there’s a clear distinction between mind and body, when it comes to mental health and physical health these should not be isolated. Seemingly unrelated psychological and physical issues may actually be closely connected.

Those people who suffer from depression or anxiety, being diagnosed with a physical health condition on top of a mental health issue can feel like the worst kind of bad luck. In addition, people with mental health conditions are less likely to receive the physical healthcare they’re entitled to. Mental health service users are less likely to receive the routine checks such as
blood pressure, weight and cholesterol that might detect symptoms of these physical health conditions earlier.

Anxiety can lead to poor physical health

Physical effects can be counterproductive, causing headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and frequent urination. Anxiety has been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions. When people with these disorders have untreated anxiety, the disease itself is more difficult to treat, their physical symptoms often become worse.

Lifestyle factors that can affect physical and mental health

Regular Exercise

Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.

Smoking

Nicotine in cigarettes interferes with the chemicals in our brains. Many people with mental health problems believe that smoking relieves their symptoms, but these effects are only short-term.

Diet

The food we eat can influence the development, management and prevention of numerous mental health conditions including depression. Therefore it’s vital that you take a healthy balanced diet that includes healthy amounts of proteins, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water.

Treating depression and other mental health conditions may help improve physical symptoms or reduce the risk of future problems. Likewise, treating physical illnesses and getting symptoms under control can help improve mental health.

At Mount Vernon Counseling Center, we treat a wide
range of medical and physical symptoms that oftentimes can be related to mental and emotional health issues including chronic headaches & stomach aches, muscle tension & joint pain, tiredness & fatigue, neurological symptoms (muscle weakness, paralysis, loss of sensation), irritable bowel syndrome and issues related to the gastrointestinal system.