Addressing the Physical Symptoms of Mental Health
Seeking aid for someone’s struggles with anxiety, depression, or other mental health complications is a step in vulnerability and hope. Beginning therapy requires an open, introspective mind that is willing to challenge its own beliefs and past conditioning — all in hopes of adjusting a person’s way of thinking to give them a more positive future. However, addressing someone’s mind is often only part of the equation. We must also focus on the physical body and the symptoms present that are intricately connected with our mental health.
Addressing these physical symptoms is equally as important as addressing the mental feelings and symptoms that someone may be experiencing. We can’t heal our body without our mind, nor heal our mind without our body.
Identifying the Physical Aspects
Anxiety and depression are two conditions that are not just confined to the mind — they can cause a number of physical effects on the body as well. Headaches, nausea, extreme tiredness/lethargy, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, and feelings of weakness are all common symptoms for anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression can also worsen existing symptoms that have a negative impact on a person’s health, such as chest pains, muscle strings, or migraines that seem to be worse during depressive episodes or times of high anxiety.
Avoid Making Symptoms Worse
Being aware of the holistic nature of mental health symptoms and keeping a healthy lifestyle is important in both mental and physical health recovery. Maintaining healthy practices that don’t worsen these symptoms is the first step in recovering from them. For example, caffeine can continue to accelerate the heart rate of someone already experiencing anxiety, just as alcohol can. Eating an unhealthy diet can add to the lethargy or lack of motivation a depressed person feels. A lack of physical exercise can cause headaches and feelings of weakness to worsen.
While exercising and cooking healthy meals may not be at the forefront of a person’s mind during difficult bouts of anxiety or depression, establishing them as part of a daily routine can help in making the practices normalized. Anxiety and depression can sap a person’s motivation and energy, leading to a continuous cycle of feeling bad until the physical symptoms can be managed appropriately.
Schedule a Physical
While the physical and mental components of anxiety and depression are unequivocally linked together, finding the biological source of some ailments can create a better picture of what someone’s recovery path will look like. Scheduling an appointment with a physician to get a physical can help outline the overall health aspects of a person’s daily life, so they can begin implementing practices that will benefit their physical healing. While daily exercise may not be a cure for depression or anxiety, it can help in many other ways. For example, it can mitigate some of the physical ailments that may be blocking other parts of recovery. Exercise can also instill a higher degree of self-confidence, stronger body image, and greater pride in one’s progress. All of these can be motivational tools for dealing with the anxiety or depression that so many of us face.
A physical can also help determine the source of any physical symptoms that a person is experiencing. While some symptoms, such as nausea or diarrhea, can often be traced to a combination of anxiety, depression, and dietary choices, others may have unclear origins. A physical can help determine what is a physical aspect of mental health recovery, and what may be psychosomatic in nature and need to be addressed through other means.
Being able to identify and then categorize a person’s symptoms during recovery is a very powerful ability. It can help the person become more self-aware and build a plan for how they will deal with certain individual aspects of their own recovery. Seeing the different strategies and self-care in action can help create an evidence-based view of how the person is recovering, as well as how their bodies are changing for the better. Seeing progress in motion is important throughout the recovery process, and keeping a healthy lifestyle in regards to the mental and physical aspects of recovery is a visible, definable kind of success that can help keep the process going strong.
Each dimension of healing needs its own strategy in order to address it. The physical symptoms that come with anxiety and depression are just as important as the overarching mental health components. Each aspect of recovery produces its own unique set of challenges. Addressing them all with the attention and serious concern they deserve is the hallmark of a holistic model of recovery. Not only does managing physical symptoms produce a healthier standard of living, but it also instills an array of skills that are necessary to treat mental health conditions effectively.
Achieve Medical is prepared to address the holistic needs of each patient. If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, and any other co-occurring mental health disorders, we are here to help. By employing an evidence-based, malleable treatment plan for each individual, Achieve Medical creates a plan that is unique to you to help you reach your goals. Let us guide you on your journey to a happier, healthier life. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (858) 221-0344.