Mental illness is something millions of Americans deal with, but many people don’t realize they have an issue. Mental illnesses affect 1 in 5 people in the United States, with 1 in 25 coping with severe conditions, and half of all chronic mental illnesses starting as early as age 14. This includes illnesses such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
Even if you’re familiar with what these and other mental health issues can do, you may not be aware of their effect on your physical health. If you live in Chicago, Illinois, and are dealing with mental health issues and their effects on your body, the experienced medical team at Michigan Avenue Primary Care can help.
Let’s define mental health, examine the effects of your mental health on your physical health, and consider how you can better care for your mental health.
When we talk about mental health, we’re referring to your emotional, behavioral, and cognitive state of being. Think of it as your coping mechanism for the various stressors, situations, and events that happen in your life. Your mental health also relates to your outlook on life, happiness, and level of fulfillment.
If something is tied to your feelings, thoughts, moods, and observations, it’s connected to your mental health. Mental illnesses alter your mood, responses, and other behavioral actions. They can also have a detrimental effect on your physical health.
Mental health problems are tied to a variety of physical problems, including:
Depression and anxiety are often linked to a variety of chronic problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Schizophrenia sufferers are at a higher risk of cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and some mental illnesses are linked to increased mortality for chronic illnesses like cancer and heart conditions.
Bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety can cause sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnea. Ironically, sleeping problems can worsen existing mental health issues.
If you suffer from depression, you have lower levels of dopamine, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that affects your mood, attention, sleep, pain processing, and attention span. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which triggers dopamine, creating short relief and leading to an addiction to smoking, which possesses numerous dangers.
There are some basic things you can do to improve your mental health, including:
Your mental and physical health are intricately tied together, so it’s important to care for both. If you need help coping, make an appointment with the medical team at Michigan Avenue Primary Care to get help. Call our office today or book online anytime.