Dealing with chronic illness or recovering from an accident can be debilitating, physically and mentally. Most people think about the physical toll illness, or an accident has on your body and neglect the emotional and psychological stress it could trigger. Physical health issues often make it challenging to enjoy your daily activities and could rob you of a sense of hope.
Suffering an accident or being diagnosed with a chronic illness can cause long-lasting negative feelings, from resentment to guilt, fear, and exhaustion because of the associated consequences. Feelings of sadness and frustration are also quite common because you cannot accept the idea that your life is different.
Medical experts state that having a complex health issue makes you more likely to also deal with mental health problems. Statistics show that people having diabetes are two to three times more likely to get depressed than people without the condition. If you leave your mental health issues unchecked, they can make your physical condition worse.
How are physical and mental health issues connected?
Physical and mental health are connected in several ways. Physical diseases directly impact mental health, especially chronic illnesses that cause changes in the brain. The symptoms associated with health issues often have a direct role in triggering depression. For example, anxiety and depression are thought to be part of multiple sclerosis, not conditions resulting from the challenging circumstances patients experience.
People dealing with physical health issues are also prone to mental health conditions due to the lifestyle changes they experience.
For example, if they experience an accident and are confined to their house during recovery, they can no longer go to work, engage in normal daily activities, or stay connected to their loved ones. The change in everyday activities can cause mental health symptoms.
In addition, the medications used to treat some physical conditions can have mental health side effects.
Can your mental health affect your physical health?
As mentioned before, physical conditions can increase the risk of suffering from mental health issues and vice versa. Studies show that patients already dealing with mental health are more likely to worsen their physical disease symptoms.
Why does this happen?
Genetics – your genes can make it more likely to develop mental conditions, which could later play a negative role in dealing with physical health.
Lack of support – suppose you have unhealthy behaviour or addiction, you’ll find it more challenging to change your life when you lack support. Healthcare professionals believe that patients who don’t benefit from their loved ones’ support are less likely to give up on unhealthy habits like drinking or smoking. If you also deal with accident injuries or chronic illness, your unhealthy behaviours could prevent you from recovering properly.
Low motivation – some medications or mental health problems impact your motivation and energy, and you fail to take care of yourself as you’re supposed to when recovering from physical health issues.
You don’t receive the necessary medical help – sometimes, the medical experts fail to identify the cause of your physical symptoms and therefore don’t investigate them, believing they’re part of your mental illness.
Besides, a series of mental health issues come with physical symptoms because your mind and body aren’t separate. It’s surprising how much a mental health issue can affect your body. For example, depression is often associated with digestive problems, fatigue, and headaches.
What’s it like to live with a complex physical health issue?
Dealing with the injuries resulting from an accident or chronic illness can be overwhelming. In addition, if someone else is at fault for your accident, you might be frustrated and angry. Understandably, you feel this way, and maybe the only way to feel better is to get compensation for your injuries. As an accident victim, you’re entitled to claim compensation for accident injuries from the one at fault.
Failing to treat your physical condition or mental health illness caused by the physical symptoms can be draining for both you and your loved ones. Dealing with a complex health issue is a full-time effort and requires great effort to handle your daily routine and life.
Depending on the extent of the condition you might have to make changes to your daily lifestyle which could overwhelm you. Before getting injured or being diagnosed, your life offered you the chance to enjoy several activities. But since you were diagnosed, you deal with both physical and mental symptoms, which require acceptance and understanding.
How can you improve your overall health when suffering from a complex health issue?
Forging a new life when being sick can be challenging. And it’s normal to feel sad and afraid while you make sense of what’s happening. But as you slowly start taking steps towards recovery, your mental health improves.
Most chronic health issues require a lot of self-care, and if your mental health is down, it can be difficult to do it. You might feel like you cannot control how you care for yourself. But once you become aware of the steps you must make to improve your overall health, you’ll find the process isn’t as daunting as you expect it to be.
Here are some ways to optimise your health.
– Eat healthily. Not skipping meals is important because your body needs nutrients to recover. Your meals enable you to manage your moods and blood sugar, so pay close attention to what’s on your plate.
– Rest. Get at least 7 hours of sleep daily because a good night’s rest lowers the amount of stress put on your body and allows it to recover.
– Be more active. If your health allows it, try walking around the block, playing with your children or pet, or doing anything involving movement. Discuss with your healthcare provider the physical activities you could engage in without worsening your condition.
– Get support. Talking with your loved ones about how you feel and getting support can make you feel better.
A chronic illness is excruciating, but remember that you’re not alone. You can benefit from help to improve your state and recover your health.
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