Co-occurring Mental and Physical Health Conditions
While the health care system and insurance companies may treat physical health and mental health differently, our bodies do not make that distinction. The wellness of the body and the mind are in fact, intertwined, and the interaction between these illnesses can exacerbate the symptoms and prognosis of both.
Even if you have never before had mental health challenges, chronic physical illness and pain can cause mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. In fact, between 33% to 75% of people with chronic illness or pain do experience moderate to severe depression and / or anxiety.
People experiencing a mental health issue may begin to withdraw from parts of their lives that were once meaningful, like relationships, work or school, church, and others. They may experience changes in energy, sleep, mood, and appetite. Depression and anxiety, left untreated, can then increase physical pain and exasperate physical symptoms, leading to a vicious cycle.
Mental illnesses are more likely to occur, and more likely to worsen, when someone has a physical condition, due to increased stress and impairment. Likewise, studies show that someone living with a mental illness has a higher risk of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes.1
Often depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder occur due to living with physical pain. At The Woodlands Integrative Care Hospital, we believe that effectively treating chronic pain requires a multidisciplinary approach.
When addressing physical pain, it is necessary to consider the neurobiological, social and emotional challenges that physical pain can cause. Working with a specialized team, we can help you learn to reduce and manage chronic pain and regain control of your life.
Find out more about pain management.
For people living with mental illness and pain or physical illness, medication management is more complex than simple adherence. Some issues that make medication adherence more difficult include cognitive impairments such as memory loss or fog, depression or anxiety, and increased drug exposure.
Poor adherence to medications is one of the most common causes of treatment failure and is often linked to complex dosing regimens, high pill burden, high medication cost, limited health literacy, depression, treatment fatigue, and neuro-cognitive impairment.
Find out more about medication management.
We all know that sleep can affect your mental health. Individuals living with physical illness and pain are more likely to develop insomnia or some other sleep disorder. Sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Traditionally, professionals treating mental disorders have viewed insomnia and other sleep disorders as symptoms of mental illness. But recent studies actually suggest that sleep issues may raise the risk for, even directly contribute to, the development of some mental disorders. In fact, treating sleep issues may help alleviate symptoms of a co-occurring mental health problem, and reduce the risk of developing a mental health disorder.
Nutrition and Gastrointestinal Health
An unhealthy diet can lead to a major health problem like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Similarly, having an unhealthy diet is now being linked to mental health problems.
According to Mental Health America, people who eat a diet high in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and unsaturated fats (like olive oil) are up to 35% less likely to develop depression than people who eat less of these foods. Highly processed, fried and sugary foods have little nutritional value and should be avoided. Research shows that a diet that regularly includes these kinds of foods can increase the risk of developing depression by as much as 60%.
At The Woodlands psychiatry and counseling, we understand that the quality of the food you eat can impact you're overall physical and mental health. Eating the right foods can go a long way toward achieving wellness; we want to make every bite count.
The Woodlands Psychiatry and Counseling
Individuals who decide to proactively work toward managing their physical health can and do find relief. However, physical wellness can be daunting when compounded by the effects of depression, emotional pain, and anxiety.
But, there is hope! Reach out for help, and allow our experienced staff to achieve wellness, reduce any physical or emotional symptoms, and rebuild your life.