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How Mental Health Affects Physical Health- Part 2 of 2

In past generations, people had a poor understanding of mental illness and the very real consequences these illnesses would have on a person’s overall wellbeing and physical health. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for friends or even loved ones to say things like, “You’re crazy!” or “Just snap out of it!”. Mental disorders are no different than other illnesses. We don’t choose to have them nor do we simply just “snap out of it”. Mental illness can surface for any number of reasons such as life events, chemical and hormonal imbalances, and even genetics.

𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗠𝗜𝗡𝗗 & 𝗕𝗢𝗗𝗬 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗡𝗘𝗖𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡

People who have good emotional health are aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They have learned healthy ways to cope with the stress and problems that are a normal part of life. They feel good about themselves and have healthy relationships.

However, many things that happen in your life can disrupt your emotional health. These can lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety. Even good or wanted changes can be as stressful as unwanted changes. These things include:

 Being laid off or fired from your job.
 Having a child leave or return home.
 Dealing with the death of a loved one.
 Getting divorced or married.
 Suffering an illness or an injury.
 Having a child with a mental or physical illness.
 Getting a job promotion.
 Experiencing money problems.
 Moving to a new home.
 Having or adopting a baby.

Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. This is one type of “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. For example, you might develop high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one.

𝗣𝗔𝗧𝗛 𝗧𝗢 𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗗 𝗛𝗘𝗔𝗟𝗧𝗛

There are ways that you can improve your emotional health. First, try to recognize your emotions and understand why you are having them. Sorting out the causes of sadness, stress, and anxiety in your life can help you manage your emotional health. Following are some other helpful tips.

𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗪𝗮𝘆𝘀

If feelings of stress, sadness, or anxiety are causing physical problems, keeping these feelings inside can make you feel worse. It’s okay to let your loved ones know when something is bothering you. However, keep in mind that your family and friends may not always be able to help you deal with your feelings appropriately. At these times, ask someone outside the situation for help. Try asking your family doctor, a counselor, or a religious advisor for advice and support to help you improve your emotional health.

𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗕𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲

Focus on the things that you are grateful for in your life. Try not to obsess about the problems at work, school, or home that lead to negative feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be happy when you feel stressed, anxious, or upset. It’s important to deal with these negative feelings, but try to focus on the positive things in your life, too. You may want to use a journal to keep track of things that make you feel happy or peaceful. Some research has shown that having a positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost. You may also need to find ways to let go of some things in your life that make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Make time for things you enjoy.

𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲

People with resilience are able to cope with stress in a healthy way. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies. These include having social support, keeping a positive view of yourself, accepting change, and keeping things in perspective. A counselor or therapist can help you achieve this goal with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Ask your doctor if this is a good idea for you.

𝗖𝗮𝗹𝗺 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗕𝗼𝗱𝘆

Relaxation methods, such as meditation, listening to music, listening to guided imagery tracks, yoga, and Tai Chi are useful ways to bring your emotions into balance. Free guided imagery videos are also available on YouTube.

Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. For example, you may do it by exercising, stretching, or breathing deeply. Ask your family doctor for advice about relaxation methods.

𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳

To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising to relieve pent-up tension. Avoid overeating and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Using drugs or alcohol just causes other issues, such as family and health problems.

𝗧𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿

Poor emotional health can weaken your body’s immune system. This makes you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Also, when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, you may not take care of your health as well as you should. You may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods, or taking medicine that your doctor prescribes. You may abuse alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Other signs of poor emotional health include (in alphabetical order):

 back pain
 change in appetite
 chest pain
 constipation or diarrhea
 dry mouth
 extreme tiredness
 general aches and pains
 headaches
 high blood pressure
 insomnia (trouble sleeping)
 lightheadedness
 palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
 sexual problems
 shortness of breath
 stiff neck
 sweating
 upset stomach
 weight gain or loss

𝗙𝗔𝗖𝗧𝗦-

𝗠𝗮𝗷𝗼𝗿 𝗗𝗲𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗠𝗗𝗗)

The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3. MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

While Major Depressive Disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old. MDD is believed to be more prevalent in women than in men.

𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗗𝗲𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿, 𝗼𝗿 𝗣𝗗𝗗, (𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝗗𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗵𝘆𝗺𝗶𝗮)

A form of depression that usually continues for at least two years. Affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. (about 3.3 million American adults).

Only 61.7% of adults with PDD are receiving treatment. The average age of onset is 31 years old.

𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗲𝗱 𝗔𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗚𝗔𝗗)

GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. GAD often co-occurs with major depression.

𝗣𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗰 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗣𝗗)

PD affects 6 million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. population. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.

𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗔𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗦𝗔𝗗)

SAD affects 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. population. SAD is equally common among men and women and typically begins around age 13. According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with Social Anxiety Disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.

𝗦𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗵𝗼𝗯𝗶𝗮𝘀

Specific phobias affect 19 million adults, or 8.7% of the U.S. population. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. Symptoms typically begin in childhood; the average age-of-onset is 7 years old.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.

𝗢𝗯𝘀𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲-𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝘂𝗹𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗢𝗖𝗗)

OCD affects 2.2 million adults, or 1.0% of the U.S. population. OCD is equally common among men and women. The average age of onset is 19, with 25 percent of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.

𝗣𝗼𝘀𝘁-𝗧𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗣𝗧𝗦𝗗)

PTSD affects 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder. Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.

𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗜𝗹𝗹𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝘀

Many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness, which can make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. It’s essential to be treated for both disorders.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.

𝙉𝙊𝙏𝙀: 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙤𝙣 𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙡 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨. 𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙗𝙮 𝙣𝙤 𝙢𝙚𝙖𝙣𝙨 𝙖 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩.

𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙎𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙎 𝙉𝙊𝙏𝙀: 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙨 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙮 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙪𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙡 𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨, 𝙄 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙮. 𝙒𝙚’𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙜𝙢𝙖 𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙡 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙨 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙥 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙩 𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 — 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙠𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢.

𝘼 𝙡𝙤𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙛𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙖𝙡𝙨𝙚 𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙖 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙗𝙚 “𝙩𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝 𝙚𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝” 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙞𝙭 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣. 𝘼𝙘𝙘𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙁𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙎𝙪𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙙𝙚 𝙋𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣, 𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙙𝙞𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙨𝙪𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙙𝙚 𝙖𝙩 𝙖 𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙤𝙛 3.54 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙘𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣 𝙬𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙞𝙣 2017.

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙉𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙪𝙩𝙚 𝙤𝙣 𝘼𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙝𝙤𝙡 𝘼𝙗𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝘼𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙢 𝙥𝙪𝙩𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙪𝙖𝙡 𝙣𝙪𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙙𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙙𝙪𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙝𝙤𝙡-𝙧𝙚𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙩 62,000, 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 26,000 𝙬𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣.

𝘼𝙣𝙙 𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙨𝙤 2 𝙩𝙤 3 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙙𝙧𝙪𝙜𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣 𝙬𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣.

𝗪𝗛𝗬 𝗗𝗢𝗘𝗦 𝗠𝗬 𝗗𝗢𝗖𝗧𝗢𝗥 𝗡𝗘𝗘𝗗 𝗧𝗢 𝗞𝗡𝗢𝗪 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗬 𝗘𝗠𝗢𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦?

You may not be used to talking to your doctor about your feelings or problems in your personal life. But remember, he or she can’t always tell that you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or upset just by looking at you. It’s important to be honest with your doctor if you are having these feelings.

First, he or she will need to make sure that other health problems aren’t causing your physical symptoms. If your symptoms aren’t caused by other health problems, you and your doctor can address the emotional causes of your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest ways to treat your physical symptoms while you work together to improve your emotional health.

𝗪𝗛𝗘𝗡 𝗧𝗢 𝗦𝗘𝗘 𝗔 𝗗𝗢𝗖𝗧𝗢𝗥

If your negative feelings don’t go away and are so strong that they keep you from enjoying life, it’s especially important for you to talk to your doctor. You may have what doctors call “major depression.” Depression is a medical illness that can be treated with individualized counseling, medicine, or both.

𝗤𝗨𝗘𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦 𝗧𝗢 𝗔𝗦𝗞 𝗔 𝗗𝗢𝗖𝗧𝗢𝗥

 How can I better cope with stress?

 Are my health problems causing my stress, or is my stress causing my health problems?

 I don’t think I’m under stress, but is my body telling me that I am?

 Everything in my life is good. Why am I not happy?

𝗛𝗢𝗪 𝗧𝗢 𝗚𝗘𝗧 𝗜𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗔𝗧𝗘 𝗛𝗘𝗟𝗣

People often don’t get the mental health services they need because they don’t know where to start.

Talk to your primary care doctor or another health professional about mental health problems. Ask them to connect you with the right mental health services.

If you do not have a health professional who is able to assist you, use these resources to find help for yourself, your family, or your friends.

𝗘𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗠𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀—𝟵𝟭𝟭

If the situation is potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911, available 24 hours a day.

𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲, 𝟭-𝟴𝟬𝟬-𝟮𝟳𝟯-𝗧𝗔𝗟𝗞 (𝟴𝟮𝟱𝟱) 𝗼𝗿 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗢𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝘁

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.

𝗦𝗔𝗠𝗛𝗦𝗔 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲, 𝟭-𝟴𝟳𝟳-𝗦𝗔𝗠𝗛𝗦𝗔𝟳 (𝟭-𝟴𝟳𝟳-𝟳𝟮𝟲-𝟰𝟳𝟮𝟳)

Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

Source: FamilyDoctor.org, American Academy of Family Physicians

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