Healing the Interplay Between Physical Illness and Mental Wellbeing

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Physical and mental health are two sides of the same coin: intricately connected and intertwined. While physical illnesses can have a profound impact on our mental wellbeing, mental health issues can also contribute to the development and progression of physical ailments. In this short article we delve into the relationship between physical illnesses and mental health, and explore the importance of an approach to healthcare that takes both into account.

The Mental Health Foundation affirms, “physical health problems significantly increase our risk of developing mental health problems, and vice versa. Nearly one in three people with a long-term physical health condition also has a mental health problem, most often depression or anxiety [1] .” Additionally, they postulate that it links for a variety of reason, including: “genetics; low motivation; difficulty with concentration and planning; lack of support to change unhealthy behavior and, being less likely to receive medical help.”

We have to remember that “both mind and body are affected by changes to physiological and emotional processes, as well as by social factors such as income and housing. These three pathways of biology, illness experience, and the social determinants of health can increase the likelihood of someone living with a mental illness or chronic physical condition developing a co-existing condition [2] .”

For example, it is important to highlight that people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health [3] are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis
  • Cancer
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Multiple sclerosis

On the other hand, according to the Mental Health Foundation [4] , “having a long-term physical condition can lead to social isolation, low self-esteem, stigma and discrimination. You may feel tired, frustrated, worried or stressed, especially when dealing with pain, test, treatments or flare-ups. All of these things can make you more likely to develop a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety.”

Then, what can I do to help myself? The last source [5]  recommends to us: exercise, eat well, stop smoking and make an appointment with a professional. In conclusion, it is clear that the interconnection between physical illnesses and mental health cannot be ignored. That is why we invite you to visit the professionals at Neighbors’ Consejo, they all are ready to support you free.







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