You expect mental health issues to cloud your thoughts, affect your social life, and alter your moods and habits, but you may not know that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and stress also directly impact your physical health.
And it’s easy to miss the connection, even for doctors. Chronic fatigue and pain can be attributed to a long list of physical conditions, and getting to the source is the only way to stop the symptoms for good.
That’s what we do here at All Functional Health. Dr. Jeffrey Mark, our quadruple board-certified physician, specializes in four critical areas of health care that enable him to conduct in-depth medical investigations from multiple angles to get to the root of your symptoms.
Masking pain and other symptoms with drugs keeps you dependent on medication, but Dr. Mark’s holistic approach seeks whole-body rejuvenation so you can achieve complete and comprehensive health. Dr. Mark is particularly skilled at resolving unexplained pain, especially when it’s related to mental health issues.
The mental-physical health cycle
If you’ve ever noticed that when you’re sick or injured, you become irritable, impatient, unable to concentrate, angry, or depressed, then you’ve already experienced one side of the physical-mental health connection. But it also works conversely.
If you’re depressed, anxious, stressed out, or dealing with mental illness, your body takes note and responds. If you have an existing injury or illness, struggling with emotional issues can exacerbate your symptoms. But mental illness can also attack a perfectly healthy body.
Regardless of whether the physical or mental source came first, the cycle can cause a debilitating combination of symptoms unless you find and treat the underlying problem.
How your body responds to depression
Depression, the ongoing feeling of sadness, disinterestedness, and hopelessness, impacts your whole life. It affects your personality, your job, your relationships, and yes, your body. Here are some of the physical effects that may come with depression:
- Physical fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Weight loss or gain
- Sexual dysfunction
These symptoms, in turn, can lead to another set of medical issues. For example, if your depression causes you to gain weight, you may develop heart disease or diabetes. If you sustain increased inflammation over a period of time, it can weaken your immune system. If your depression is keeping you awake at night, it can lead to hypertension.
How your body responds to anxiety
Feeling nervous about taking a test or watching your child drive for the first time are normal human reactions. And when you’re in danger, your body floods your system with adrenaline, putting you into fight-or-flight mode. It’s a temporary defense mechanism that keeps you alert and safe. Then when the danger is gone, your system returns to normal.
But if you live in a near-constant state of mental or emotional stress, your body can’t cope with the increased blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Soon, your anxiety takes its toll on your body and shows up as:
- Pounding heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Upset stomach
- High blood pressure
- Muscle aches
- Chronic pain
These side effects of anxiety affect your body from head to toe. In particular, anxiety impacts your cardiovascular, immune, digestive, excretory, and respiratory systems.
How your body responds to bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder primarily affects your moods, causing severe swings from high to low. It may involve hallucinations, obsessions, delusions, extreme optimism or pessimism, aggression, and paranoia, but it doesn’t stop in your head. Bipolar disorder hits your body, too, with symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Low or high energy
- Rapid speech
- Excessive crying
- Appetite changes
- Increased blood pressure
Like depression and anxiety, the list of physical symptoms related to bipolar disease wears down your immunity and fatigues your body’s vital symptoms.
Functional medicine to treat your mind and body
If you’re feeling the physical effects of a mental disorder, there’s no better place to seek treatment than All Functional Health. Dr. Mark is committed to addressing your whole body and mind together with the functional medicine approach, because he understands that there are many factors affecting both.
Functional medicine treatments never throw drugs at your symptoms. Instead, Dr. Mark discovers the root causes of your symptoms and designs a custom treatment plan that prompts your body to heal itself so your conditions and their symptoms go away for good.
He may use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or biocellular therapy to trigger the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues. Physical therapy, acupuncture, or even something as simple as a few lifestyle changes have also yielded amazing results.
Don’t suffer the physical consequences of mental health issues any longer. Call us at our San Ramon or Turlock office or request an appointment with Dr. Mark online today.