How Does Mental Health Affect Your Physical Health?

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By Swetha Sukumar

Posted on June 17, 2024


5 min read

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How Does Mental Health Affect Your Physical Health

Our mental health and physical health are closely related. Because our thoughts and moods may seem abstract or separate from our physical state, but they all happen as part of our brain activity. A correlation has been shown between physical health and mental well-being. These two levels of health are not separate entities, rather they are interrelated aspects of our overall well-being that profoundly influence each other.

Importance of Mental Health for Overall Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the highest number of people with mental health problems is found in India. The pandemic has resulted in an increase of 25 percent in the number of mental health cases in India. The second largest global health burden is now mental health. People with troubled mental health should also know their overall physical health is affected. 

Reasons why mental health is essential for overall health – 

  • Heart and vascular disease are caused by poor mental health, and there is an intrinsic link between mental and physical health. 


  • Mental health diseases affect people’s health behaviors, such as eating, sleeping, drinking, and smoking habits, all of which raise the risk of getting sick physically. 


  • Mental illness can lead to multiple adverse consequences such as drug abuse, poverty, unsettling family dynamics, unemployment, and related criminal activities. 


  • Immune dysfunction is significantly influenced by poor mental health.


Types of Mental Health and symptoms  

Various conditions related to mental health are classified as mental illnesses. And the symptoms of these mental problems vary according to the severity of the disease. The most popular of them include- 

  • Anxiety Disorders: An anxiety disorder is a type of mental health condition where there is a state of fear, panic, dread and anxiety. This condition leads to rapid or abnormal heart rate and bouts of sweating. 

Symptoms: Feeling a sense of panic, fear and uneasiness, cold or sweaty hands, repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences, dry mouth.

  • Mood Disorders: Extreme mood fluctuations are common in people with mood disorders. One may experience tremendous despair or delight at random times, or they may experience constant ups and downs. Bipolar disorder, depression, and cyclothymic disorder are the three types of mood disorders. 

Symptoms: Cause you to feel sad, empty, anxious and irritable , affect your ability to focus and function, cause loss of pleasure in most or all activities, affect your energy level and quality of life, make you feel worthless or guilty, affect how much you eat and sleep, raise thoughts about suicide.

  • Psychotic Disorders: There is a group of serious mental illnesses known as psychotic disorders. They make it difficult for someone to respond appropriately, communicate effectively, understand reality, think clearly, or make wise decisions.

Symptoms: Disorganized or incoherent speech, confused thinking, slowed or unusual movements, loss of interest in activities, mood swings or other mood symptoms, such as depression or mania.

  • Eating Disorders:  Eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. Preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Symptoms: Intense fear of gaining weight, thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis),  mild anemia and muscle wasting and weakness, low blood pressure, damage to the structure and function of the heart. 

  • Personality Disorders: Personality disorders are mental health conditions characterized by a lifelong pattern of self-perception and problematic responses to others. Individuals who suffer from personality disorders frequently struggle to accept discomfort and understand feelings. They also behave rashly. Their inability to relate to others causes them to have major problems that impact their family life, social life, performance at work and in school, and general quality of life.

Symptoms: Lacks trust and is suspicious of others and the reasons for their actions, doubts the loyalty of others, has a habit of holding grudges, believes that others are trying to do harm with no reason to feel this way.

  • Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder (OCD): It is a condition in which you have frequent unwanted thoughts and sensations (obsessions) that cause you to perform repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors can significantly interfere with social interactions and performing daily tasks.

Symptoms: Fear of germs, fear of making a mistake, need for order, neatness, sympathy or perfection, fear of causing harm to yourself or someone else, repeatedly checking things.  

If you want to improve your general well-being, it is essential that you take care of your physical and mental health. Exercising regularly, eating right, avoiding alcohol and drugs, getting enough sleep, and developing good mental practices are some of the ways to take care of yourself physically and mentally. If you follow a systematic lifestyle that controls your mind, you can maintain and improve your physical health along with your mental health. And in case you feel you are undergoing troubles relevant to your mental health, please do reach out to a certified mental health practitioner for support at the earliest.