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The Balance of Life: Physical Health Begins with Mental Wellness

The Balance of Life: Physical Health Begins with Mental Wellness

So much emphasis is placed on healthcare that the importance of mental health is often overlooked. Mental health is imperative in order to live a complete and full life. Our brain is an organ that is just as complex and necessary for our bodies daily functioning as our heart, eyes, hands or lungs. Our brain speaks to every part of our body and instructs it on how and when to function. If our minds are not functioning at optimal health, the rest of our bodies may be quite adversely affected. Some contributing factors to mental health problems are trauma, such as brain injuries due to accidents and/or extensive drug and/or alcohol abuse and biological factors such as birth defects and/or genetic components as mental health concerns have also proven to be genetic, stemming from a history of mental health problem within one’s family. Some early warning signs of mental health problems include, but are not limited to:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge or embarrassment, people often self-medicate when they experience some of these symptoms such as taking OTC medications for unexplained aches and pains or turning to prescription drugs, drinking and/or smoking to ‘numb out’ when overly stressed, sad, lonely or worried. However, anyone dealing with any of these symptoms should seek professional/medical help immediately. Your PCP will be able to complete a basic in-office assessment in the form of a questionnaire and possibly prescribe a mild psychotropic medication or they will use the questionnaire to refer you to the proper mental health professional. You may also contact your local Mental Health or Behavioral Health department.

Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Strive to keep your brain as healthy as your heart.

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