Mental health is an essential component of our lives. It comprises our emotional, physical, and social well-being. The intimate connection of “mind” and “body” is often misunderstood. We don’t realize how our mental health can affect us physically as well as personally. In addition, most of us are unaware of how common mental health problems are. About every 1 in 5 adults has a mental illness or disorder. A vast range of conditions fall in this category, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar patients, and addictive behavior.
Our mental health is affected by many factors, such as biological factors, including genetics or any chronic medical condition. Some life experiences also have a considerable impact, such as a history of trauma or abuse. Psychological problems contribute to other medical conditions as well. For instance, depression occurring as co-morbidity with any other disease is more likely to affect your personal life than a person with no mental illness. Other than that, mentally ill people are more likely to experience abuse, poor quality care, and basic human rights violations.
If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, contact a mental health specialist as soon as possible. You can approach a qualified psychiatrist or a therapist with a psychology bachelors or masters degree and a license to provide counseling services. This way, you can get the necessary help on time. If you delay the process, your condition can worsen and affect various aspects of your life. Declining mental health can severely impact one’s personal life. Continue reading to know how.
1. It affects your longevity
Research has proven that people with mental health illnesses tend to have a shorter life span. Such individuals are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases and conditions ranging from diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, etc.
One probable reason behind this is because mentally ill people tend to pay less attention to themselves and their physical health. They tend to have poor eating habits and sleep patterns. Such people are also statistically less likely to go for routine checkups because of stigma. This directly impacts the prognosis of any disease, which, if detected at an early stage, could have been avoided altogether.
2. It induces pessimistic behavior
In 2012, Harvard University conducted research that proved that people with an optimistic perspective are at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Positive emotions are directly related to the mental health of a person. Similarly, negative emotions impact physical well-being immensely. Take stress. For example, long-term stress or negativity can tear down a person emotionally and physically, compared to short-lived stress such as stomachaches. This eventually leads people to become more pessimistic as negative thoughts fill up their minds.
3. Poor educational and career growth
Poor mental health immensely impacts the quality of life, productivity, and career decisions. Mentally unhealthy students have poor academic performance. Lack of focus and absenteeism severely affect the learning process. In some cases, they are also unable to complete a high school or college degree and eventually struggle to get a job. Those who succeed in achieving their education might show poor productivity or performance at the workplace, resulting in unemployment. Such mentally unstable people have low income, which merely adds to the stress and other personal problems.
4. Addictions and withdrawals
Psychological treatments include drugs as well as one-to-one counseling sessions with therapists. But these drugs can cause physical and mental dependency in the long run. If a patient depends on medicinal help, it gets difficult to cope with the withdrawal effects. Such patients are more prone to get addicted because the medicines alter the biochemistry of the body. The patient gets used to increased levels of endorphins, serotonin, etc. Hence, decreasing the dosage without treating the condition through counseling may lead to addictive habits in the future.
Not to mention, patients also resort to substance abuse as a coping mechanism to distract themselves from triggers. This inadvertently affects their physical health and their relations with other people in their lives. Substance abuse requires further treatment and rehabilitation, which is often not easy for some people. If the addiction is severe, it merely worsens their health.
5. It makes you physically unfit
Physical health is significantly affected by mental health. A mentally healthy person will take care of her/his physical health and be more motivated to stay fit. Exercise is the most important yet highly ignored variable that plays a significant role in the physical well-being of a mentally ill person. Psychologists may see an evident difference in their clients if they exercise regularly.
But how does a simple exercise benefit? Vigorous exercise helps to reduce anxiety, enhance the mood, and improve mental health. Physical activity helps to burn cortisol, which is at higher levels in people who are stressed out. All of these benefits are directly related to physical fitness. Mentally unhealthy people tend to be lazy and thus more prone to diseases.
Declining mental health can severely impact your personal life. It can significantly decrease your lifespan by making you prone to developing chronic conditions. It can also fill your mind with negative thoughts and make you more pessimistic. You’ll be unable to study properly, and it will affect your professional performance. Last by not least, you’ll be less motivated to stay fit. Therefore, prioritize your mental well-being for a better life. Eat healthy foods and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep. Try to stay physically active. And if you feel you can’t handle your declining mental health by yourself, get expert help as soon as possible.