The effects of mental illness on an individual look as varied as the people that have them. Unmanaged mental illness can wreak havoc on your mind, relationships, finances and stability. Something that many people don’t consider, though, is how mental health affects you physically.
The mind and body work together to keep you healthy and happy, and when one of them isn’t working at its best, the other can’t either. Still, you can do to things to manage these health concerns and begin the path to recovery.
The Physical Consequences of Mental Illness
The impact of mental illness on your quality of life can be significant. Physically, symptoms can range from minor aches and pains to debilitating migraines that prevent you from going about your day. If you’re experiencing these symptoms with no apparent reason, it may be related to your mental health:
- Muscle aches and tension
- Migraines and headaches
- Gastric issues like stomach pain, appetite changes and diarrhea
- “Brain fog,” or difficulty concentrating and staying focused
- Sleep issues and fatigue
How Can I Tell When Physical Illness Is Caused by Mental Illness?
Perhaps the best way to accurately determine whether your pains are psychosomatic or due to a physical concern is to visit your doctor. A primary care physician can run blood tests and do examinations to show anything physically wrong with your body. If not, you can likely feel confident that your pains and illnesses are tied to your mental health.
What Can I Do to Get Better?
In the fight of physical illness vs. mental illness, there’s only one way to win — get help. Reach out to your loved ones, let them know you’re struggling and make plans with your doctor and therapist to manage your symptoms. If you’re ready to start feeling better, try these simple adjustments:
- Get active: Although both physical and mental illnesses pose difficulties with your ability to exercise and move around, the truth is that it does help. Even a few minutes of walking per day can improve your mood and stretch out stiff muscles.
- Eat well: A balanced diet gives your body fuel and the nutrients it needs to function properly. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins while cutting down on sugars and processed foods.
- Reduce or quit using cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs: People with mental illnesses often turn to substance use to help them cope with reality. However, they’re only a temporary solution, and the longer you use them in this way, the more likely you are to become dependant on them and develop an addiction.
Get Comprehensive Treatment at 7 Summit Pathways
Dealing with addiction is always a struggle, but it can be worse when you’re also trying to manage mental and physical illnesses. At 7 Summit Pathways, we believe the key to long-lasting recovery is treating mental, physical and emotional health together. Our therapists and physicians will create a personalized plan for you to combat all aspects of your health. Connect with us today to learn more about our services, including our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).