The Link Between Physical Health & Psychological Distress

Home | The Link Between Physical Health & Psychological Distress

Although it may appear that the mind and body are two completely separate entities, medical professionals have long determined that both are intricately entwined. While it is unclear how much one entity affects the other, there is a strong link between physical health and psychological distress. In other words, you cannot have a perfectly healthy body with depression as a constant battle. There are several ways that the mind and body relate to each other in both beneficial and damaging manners.

Your Own Worst Critic

If you have any mental or physical ailment, it is often worse in your mind. Self-criticism is a harsh part of human nature, but it is worse when seemingly awful illnesses haunt you. For example, you may have painful physical therapy after a car accident. Although the therapy will be over in a matter of months, the everyday pain seems unbearable, lasting “forever.” However, the pain may not be that bad in comparison to other life-altering situations. Your mind must think positively about the situation before any progress can be made. Focusing on the immediate pain only makes the therapy less beneficial, making it last longer if you are not putting your full effort into the exercises.

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Weak Immune System

If you are psychologically distressed, your sleep is often compromised. Restless nights make your days unproductive and weaken your immune system. Your body needs to rest and heal at night. Without that crucial sleep, your body’s immune system weakens. Any germs or viruses your body was fighting valiantly may simply fold, allowing your body to get sick with the latest flu or cold. Naturally, a physical sickness affects your mind with stress and frustration. The key is to deal with your issues head-on to remove psychological distress, increasing your immune system’s strength to fight germs.

Cyclical Situation

Chronic physical ailments, such as back pain, affect the mind strongly. You may develop depression as a result of your inability to participate in life events, from graduations to basic birthday parties. With depression comes a weakened immune system, making the chronic pain possibly worse. It is this cyclical situation that must be amended. Although the chronic disease may not be curable, you can focus on the psychological aspect. Make your needs known to your loved ones so that supportive parties are easily accessible. You shouldn’t miss all life events because your mind and body will react negatively.

Social Aspect

Following an impairing life event, you need to remain social to keep your spirits high, even with a physical disease. Feeling down about your situation typically encourages alone time. Watching television or simply laying in a quiet room are all you want to do. However, anti-social tendencies hurt both the mind and body. You may sit still for hours on end, making your physical health decline. The lack of human companionship causes mental issues, including depression. Although alone time is good to a certain degree, keep yourself connected with others, either in person, on the phone or through social media. You’ll see the difference it makes mentally and physically in a short time.

Overlooked Psychological Symptoms

Talk to your doctor about any psychological issues you may be facing. Some people may feel ashamed about admitting to suicidal or unusual thoughts. A doctor may be under the impression that your mental state will improve with your ailment’s cure but if you are not honest, the help you’re getting may not be as helpful as you need. Although part of you will heal with time, there could be more treatment necessary to help your situation. Psychologists and psychiatrists may be needed to find the root of your issues. Probing the mind takes time, so be vocal about your issues as soon as possible.

Exercising The Mind And Body

One simple way to improve both your physical health and mind is through exercising. Even if you take a walk down the street, your body produces endorphins. These hormones naturally affect your mind positively. You’ll feel good with optimistic thoughts. The muscles and cardiovascular system will improve, possibly helping your physical issues. It is always best to consult with a doctor before starting any exercises, however. They can offer the best workouts for your body.

Long-Term Stress

If you have long-term stress from work or drug addiction, an escape is probably the typical reaction to your situation. More or different drugs could be the chosen solution, making the physical and mental issues even worse. Dealing with long-term stress requires a stark look at your life. Finding a different job or quitting drugs should be your ultimate goal, but you must deal with your mental blocks at the same time. You must also learn how to deal with problems without resorting to a physical crutch, whether cigarettes or alcohol.

At St. Gregory Recovery Center, we strive to serve both the mind and body during addiction treatment using various types of therapy to help you recover mind and body. Contact us today to find out more about our treatment and services. When you treat the mind and body together, you’ll see outstanding results that last a lifetime.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


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