Health Mental Health

Can Poor Health And Mental Illness Go Hand in Hand?

Introduction

Poor health and mental illness go hand in hand. A number of clinical researches have been conducted to study this correlation between poor health and mental illness.

History

Below are some points which will provide an insight into the matter.


1) Eating disorders: Mental health is often associated with eating disorders. Depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia severely affect a person’s appetite. Depression may lead to a sudden increase or decrease in appetite. Dementia affects a person’s ability to swallow. It may also cause a person to become partly paralysed. This prevents the person from exercising regularly. This has a negative impact on the metabolism and general health. Health and mental illness are very closely related to eating disorders – food is fuel for the body. Any imbalance in the intake of food is bound to affect the overall physical and mental condition of an individual. Studies indicate that the dietary intake of mentally affected person is generally higher in fats and lower in fibre. This gives rise to serious complications like cardiovascular disorders and diabetes.


2) Accidents: Mentally challenged persons are unable to live a normal life. They are not capable of performing mundane tasks efficiently. Mental disorders are associated with symptoms like loss of memory, inability to move certain parts of the body, disorientation, frequent mood swings and so on. Thus, people who are suffering from mental disorders are very prone to accidents. This reiterates the fact that poor health and mental illness go hand in hand.

Features

3) Substance abuse: Poor health and mental illness are intrinsically bound in regard to substance abuse. People suffering from depression are often addicted to smoking, alcohol and other drugs. This addiction is also observed in people suffering from schizophrenia. Excessive smoking causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and other fatal diseases are closely linked to smoking. Alcohol and drugs have the capacity to cause a degeneration of almost every organ of the human body.


4) Side effects: When a person suffers from poor mental or physical health, he or she may be subjected to medical procedures or treatments which have a number of serious side effects. These side effects eventually take a toll on the body. Mentally challenged persons are prescribed psychotropic medications which have known to have serious side effects on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Anti psychotic medications are also associated with weight gain – this further worsens the physical condition of the patient. This substantiates the fact that poor health and mental illness are related. Newer medications have been devised to treat mental disorders, but these too are far from being free of side effects.


5) Depression – the most underrated of all the mental conditions: Depression poses a threat of 24 percent increase in the possibility of death within the following 6 years. This is testimony to the fact that health and mental illness go hand in hand. Also, a very high percentage of people suffering from depression commit suicide. This establishes a definite connection between death and mental disorders.

Tips and comments

Often, psychiatrists do not pay much attention to the physical condition of mentally challenged patients. New programs should be developed to treat mental diseases – these programs should be developed taking into account the fact that poor health and mental illness go hand in hand. Some steps that can be taken to improve upon the current methods are prescription of antipsychotic drugs with minimal side effects and therapies which aim to combat alcoholism, drug abuse and smoking.

By Sia Attavar, published at 03/09/2012
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