Research has clearly established the link between mental and physical health- so when you’re unhappy in your mind, it often leads to feeling unwell in your body too. Anyone with a mental health condition knows that it’s no fun whatsoever, but what can make things worse is without the right treatment, you put yourself at risk of many other ailments and issues too. Some of these can even be life threatening. Here are some examples of how your mental health can lead to poor physical health, how to avoid this, and why it’s so important to seek help.
When you’re struggling with your mental health, it can cause you to make bad decisions when it comes to food. Some people find that food is a comfort, eating too much and gaining a lot of weight. In the long term, this leads to all the associated risks of obesity- heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancers. Others go the other way and struggle to eat much at all, and can become malnourished and weak. Conditions like anemia and vitamin deficiencies are common in this case. According to health professionals like United Medical, a poor diet can lead to diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. Poor diet over many years can lead to weak bones, poor hair and skin health and so much more. As humans, food is our fuel. We’re complex creatures and need the right balance of vitamins and minerals to thrive, a lot of people already struggle with this as it is- so throwing a mental health issue into the mix is always going to be problematic.
Lack of sleep
Some mental health conditions can lead to a lack of sleep. Anxiety in particular is known for keeping people up at night, when you can’t stop worrying and your mind is going at a hundred miles an hour. Chronic lack of sleep has many of the same risks as obesity, leading to heart attack, stroke and other illnesses. Because people who don’t get enough sleep have trouble controlling their appetite (due to hormones controlling hunger not being properly regulated) obesity and weight gain is another risk.
Not enough exercise
When you’re tired from not enough sleep and sluggish from the wrong foods, chances are the last thing you’ll want to do is exercise. This can form a vicious cycle, as it can then lead to further weight gain and more poor sleep. Exercise is a natural mood booster, helps you burn calories, regulate hormones and can improve sleep. Getting your mental health in check will help to give you the energy and motivation you need to get that workout done.
Poor grooming and dental habits
Finally, another area of your health that can suffer when you’re struggling with your mental health is your teeth. Again, lack of motivation and poor daily habits as a result will be the cause. You’re less likely to take care of your hair and skin too, which can go on to cause low self esteem. Addressing the underlying mental health problem can help you to get all of these things sorted.