Nearly 60 million American adults suffer from mental health disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and more than half will be diagnosed with a mental health issue during their lives. While most people understand that mental health issues can affect behavior and mood, the effects of these illnesses can actually be more wide-reaching.
At Bowman Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California, our team is dedicated to helping patients understand every aspect of their mental illness, so they can be informed and empowered. In this post, our team reviews some of the lesser-known effects of mental illness and the impacts they can have on your life.
Sleep problems are common among people with mental health disorders, particularly people with depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ironically, not getting enough quality, restorative sleep can also make your mental health disorder worse and worsen your symptoms, too.
Problems with physical health
Mental health problems can make you more prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and other chronic diseases that can have a huge impact on your life. They can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pain, digestive issues, and chronic pain.
When we feel depressed, anxious, or stressed, we often turn to foods high in fats and sugars — so-called comfort foods — to help us feel better. While researchers are still learning about why these cravings occur, research shows that poor diet choices can have a major impact on our mood and mental health. Unfortunately, people with mental health issues might be more prone to making unhealthy food choices. And this, in turn, can make the condition even worse.
Problems at work or school
Mental health problems involve your brain and the way it functions, so it’s not surprising that these issues also affect the way you think and manage your time. You may have difficulty focusing, remembering dates, following instructions, or prioritizing obligations. All of these factors can make it more difficult to succeed in work or school environments.
Not surprisingly, if your mental health issue interferes with your job, you may wind up with financial problems. Furthermore, some people find their illness makes it difficult to focus on finances, pay bills on time, and make wise financial decisions. Other mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, can lead to impulsive behaviors. This could result in spending large amounts of money.
People with mental health issues frequently feel inferior, especially if their issue interferes with daily living. Mental health issues can affect your thinking in ways that undermine your confidence. On top of that, there’s a pervasive stigma about mental health issues, and this could cause you to feel uncomfortable and interfere with your self-esteem.
Without a treatment plan in place, all of these issues can dramatically increase your feelings of stress, hopelessness, and isolation. For many people, that can lead to substance abuse, such as drug abuse or alcoholism.
Substance abuse can make your mental health problems harder to manage, which can exacerbate symptoms and increase your risks for self-harm and other destructive behaviors.
Treatment can help
Focusing only on the downsides of mental illness can feel overwhelming. The good news is treatment can help — a lot. When you come to us, we work closely with you to develop a plan that focuses on your needs, symptoms, and lifestyle.
We then monitor you and adjust your plan as needed to make sure your treatment stays on track, so you can lead a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. To learn more about how we can help you, call 310-276-4003 to book an appointment with Bowman Medical Group today.