How Does Your Mental Health Impact Your Physical Health?

Sometimes, mental illness is terrifying because you feel like you’ve lost control of your mind and nothing makes sense. It’s like watching yourself on autopilot and having little to no control

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We’ve all heard it said that poor mental health can even lead to physical symptoms. When your body’s flight or fight response is triggered, it does have physical effects on your body. You may feel sick or butterflies in your stomach. You may feel your muscles tighten. You may feel your heart begin to race. But this is merely the beginning when it comes to our mental health impacting our physical health, recent studies have even linked poor mental states to premature deaths.

A recent study by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) linked a healthy mind to a healthy body after the study found that there is a connection between psychological distress and premature death. The researchers studied 68,222 health adults over an eight year period and found that those with lower levels of confidence and higher levels of anxiety, depression, worthlessness and social dysfunction had a hugely higher risk of death from all causes.

The study assessed psychological distress with a General Health Questionnaire, a simple 12-question survey that assessed if participants had ever lost sleep over worry, considered themselves reasonably happy, or constantly felt under strain. Interestingly, many of the adults who were considered psychologically distressed never received help from a mental-health professional — mostly because there wasn’t an urgent need for one. [1]

It’s interesting that poor mental states have been linked to an increased risk of death by all causes, and it poses a larger question of – why isn’t more being done to assist those who are facing psychological distress? More needs to be done to intervene early on so that these risks can be significantly reduced, and more needs to be done so that more people can lead a better quality of life.

On the whole, mental health impacts our physical health and this has been well documented. If someone has a poor mental state they are much more likely to go to the doctor’s and complain of physical ailments – and this is a sign that mental health and intrinsically linked to physical health, and they both need to be treated on a parity of each other.

[1] https://www.sharecare.com/health/mental-health-basics/how-mental-illness-physical-health

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