Thursday, 12 Apr 2018
Can mental ill-health lead to physical illness?
By Private Therapy Clinic
People sometimes struggle to accept that mental health issues are worthy of treatment in their own right. Unfortunately, while a lot of work has been done to destigmatise mental health issues, some people still feel ashamed or embarrassed if they need support in this area.
The fact is, mental or emotional ill-health can be a serious problem, and needs to be taken seriously, because far too many people are suffering without the support they badly need. Help is available, and it can make a dramatic difference to our quality of life, and to the quality of our important relationships.
Moreover, emotional ill health can lead to and/or aggravate a wide range of physical problems, too. When we are feeling unhappy or stressed, our bodies produce higher levels of adrenaline than usual. In the short term, this is a normal, healthy response to an immediate threat, but over time, elevated levels of adrenaline can be very damaging to our health. Stress can aggravate physical conditions as diverse as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more.
Other risks to our physical health associated with emotional stress include muscular problems related to ongoing tension, and even dental problems from clenching our jaw and grinding our teeth, digestive disorders, and a range of health issues associated with not sleeping, or not sleeping well.
Because of the complex nature of the human mind and body, one health issue frequently leads to another, and can even cause a cascade effect. All too often, patients seek out their GPs over and over again for help with the symptoms of a wide range of physical problems, without ever getting completely well, or understanding that the root cause of their physical ill-health could actually be in their mind. Meanwhile, their ill-health may well be damaging the emotional well-being of the important people in their lives, such as spouses, partners, or children. Nobody lives in a social vacuum, and when one member of a family is suffering, there are often negative repercussions for all the others, too.
The fact is, unless the root cause of the physical problems is addressed, they are likely to continue experiencing symptoms for a long time—perhaps even the rest of their lives! The good news is that help is available and that most people are capable of seeing vast improvement in their sense of well-being.
Even if we are not fully conscious of the emotional stress we are feeling, it is important for us and everyone we care about to take care of our mental well-being. Seeing a good therapist will help us to understand and manage the causes and manifestations of our stress—and as our emotional health improves, we are likely to see profound improvements in the area of our physical health, too!
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.