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How Do Our Mental Illnesses Affect Us Physically?

We tend to think of our mental illnesses as affecting our minds and our emotions, our thought processes, behaviors and emotional responses, but what about our bodies? Are our bodies affected as well? Are we impacted physically by our mental illnesses? For many of us, our mental illnesses do manifest physically, and we are impacted by these effects in some very serious and concerning ways.

Our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can present physical symptoms such as exhaustion and fatigue. We might feel as though we have very limited energy, which impacts our motivation levels and our ability to cope with our everyday lives. On the other end of the spectrum, our intense anxiety, panic attacks and the manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder can cause us to be hyperactive and excessively energetic, causing us to feel physically uncomfortable, restless, uneasy and overly agitated. We might experience racing thoughts, obsessive thinking and compulsions that frighten and disturb us, causing us extreme physical sensations of discomfort and fear. We might suffer from insomnia, where our anxiety and worry make it impossible for us to relax our minds and fall asleep. Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of very serious health concerns, including everything from increased risk for high blood pressure to an inability to concentrate and a shortened attention span. These can all be problematic to our physical health, eroding our physical well-being and even causing dangerous outcomes, such as falling asleep at the wheel or neglecting our children because we are mentally and physically impaired. When we don’t get adequate restful sleep, we’re more likely to suffer worsened mental health symptoms, irritability and uneasiness, heightened stress levels, and exacerbated depression, anxiety and panic.

Untreated depression and other mental illnesses can cause us chronic physical pain, such as persistent headaches and back pain. Conditions like fibromyalgia are considered biopsychosocial disorders, with various causes that are biological, psychological and social in nature. It is widely thought that the traumatic experiences we go through, such as the loss of someone close to us, can lead to issues like fibromyalgia that predominantly cause us physical pain but which have underlying causes rooted in our mental illnesses.

Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.