Physical health is important for mental health. People with good physical health have less risk of developing mental health problems, and people with poor physical health are more likely to develop mental health problems. The causes of physical and mental illness are not always clear, but research suggests that physical health factors can affect how well someone functions mentally. For example, good physical health can help a person feel confident and happy, which can reduce the risk of developing depression or other mental illnesses.
Most people think of mental health and physical health as two completely separate entities, one impacting the other very little if at all. However, the two are inextricably linked; what affects one affects the other. Poor physical health can lead to poor mental health, and vice versa. In this article, we will explore the relationship between physical health and mental health, looking at how they both interact and affect each other.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
Mental health disorders are conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior. They include major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.
Substance use disorders are also mental health disorders. It is important to understand that being addicted to drugs and alcohol is a health problem, not a moral failing. Substance addictions are just as connected to physical health issues as other mental health problems are. As such, getting physically healthy is a critical component of any drug addiction recovery program.
What is Physical Health?
Physical health is the absence of any physical health disorders. It is the state of being free from illness or injury. Physical health is determined by a person’s genes, lifestyle, and environment. There are many physical health disorders that can affect people. These disorders can range from mild to life-threatening. Some common physical health disorders include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and respiratory diseases.
Ultimately, the best ways of maintaining physical health involve eating healthily, getting daily exercise, and getting enough sleep. These are lifestyle habits that people with active addictions often struggle with. Moreover, abusing drugs and alcohol can directly lead to physical health problems, from lung issues and liver failure to blood infections and overdoses. When people quit drugs and alcohol, they often find that their physical health immediately improves.
How Do Physical and Mental Health Affect Each Other?
It is no secret that physical and mental health are closely intertwined. In fact, the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So what are the links between physical and mental health?
One major link is that when someone experiences poor physical health, their mental health often suffers as well. This can be due to a number of factors, such as feeling overwhelmed by having to manage a serious illness, struggling with new limitations, or dealing with difficult emotions related to one’s illness. In addition, many chronic illnesses can lead to depression and other mental health problems.
On the other hand, poor mental health can also have a negative impact on physical health. A person with poor mental health can be more prone to physical illnesses. In addition, the experience of feeling overwhelmed by one’s depression or anxiety can lead to poor dietary choices and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Coping strategies, such as eating junk food or taking drugs, may relieve temporary feelings of emotional distress — but at the cost of physical health.
The result can be a vicious cycle, with both mental and physical illnesses continually exacerbating each other.
Can Lifestyle Choices Improve My Health?
There are many different things you can do to improve your mental and physical health. One way is to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and getting enough sleep. Another way is to practice mindfulness or meditation. You can also reduce stress by avoiding negative people and situations and learning how to deal with stress in a healthy way.
In many cases, getting the help of a specialist is necessary. Medical doctors can help with physical health disorders, while psychiatrists and psychotherapists can deal with specific mental health problems. During active addiction, most people push their disorders under the rug and try to ignore them. Many people send years without seeing a doctor or a dentist. Early recovery is a challenging time, because it is no longer possible to ignore these pressing health concerns. However, since mental and physical health are so inextricably linked, by getting even a single problem treated, you will often find that other problems become less severe as well.
Sober livings improve physical health by encouraging residents to follow a healthy diet, as well as instructing them on how to do so. Most sober living houses also include on-site exercise equipment. They also often arrange trips to parks and other outdoor activities, allowing residents opportunities to get plenty of exercise. Mental health can be improved by engaging in therapy and counseling, as well as by finding a supportive community of people who are also working on their recovery. While sober livings are not treatment centers and cannot provide therapy directly, they are more than happy to help coordinate and connect residents with the services they need. Meanwhile, sober livings help improve residents’ social lives by providing opportunities for socializing and networking with other people in recovery.
Getting Healthy in a Sober Living Home
People struggling with addiction often need a safe and supportive place to live in order to recover. Sober living homes can provide that safe and supportive environment while also helping residents improve their health. Sobriety is the first step on the road to recovery, and sober living homes provide a supportive environment for maintaining sobriety. In addition to sobriety, sober living homes can help residents improve their physical health, mental health, and social lives.
If you are ready to make a change and get your life back on track, reach out to Sober Living West today.