Physical and mental health are two separate, but related, conditions. In fact, many physical aches and pains have corresponding mental symptoms. This overlap is referred to as comorbidity. Diabetes, for example, can make you more susceptible to anxiety and depression. In addition, your immune system may become weakened by mental illness, making your physical ailments more severe. Therefore, a strong connection between physical and mental health is important.
The connection between physical and mental health is clear: mental illness can lead to a decrease in motivation and weight gain. Physical symptoms can include stomach discomfort, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating. As a result, improving your mental health can help your physical health, too. For instance, if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression is the second most common self-reported comorbidity among COPD patients.
Although many people don’t realize it, both physical and mental health can influence each other. Research shows that people with depression or schizophrenia are twice as likely to die from heart disease or respiratory disease. Furthermore, depression increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. Clearly, the link between mental and physical health is well-known. The question remains, how do we improve our mental health and increase our physical health?
The answer lies in the way we think about these two aspects of health. Physical activity, especially exercise, helps our minds function better. Moreover, we know that the connection between physical and mental health is complex, especially for growing children. Parents may feel confused as to what to do next. Hillside, one of Atlanta’s leading youth mental health treatment organizations, can help you facilitate healing and well-being for your child.