The Physical Toll of Mental Health Problems

Oct 11, 2023
The Physical Toll of Mental Health Problems
Most people understand from their own observations that mental and physical health affect each other. Nothing is all in your head or all in your body. The physical toll of mental health problems is real and important to understand.

The brain runs the body, and signals from the body return to the brain to create sensation and movement. We never question the connection between the brain and the body in these circumstances. They’re fundamentally intertwined. 

Yet, when it comes to mental health issues, there are some who view these as a brain-only function, “all in the mind,” and the idea that depression or anxiety might have physical symptoms seems counterintuitive, when in fact the connection is just as real as body-to-brain. 

The team at KETA Medical Center understands this important interrelationship between body and mind. We specialize in ketamine therapy for mental health, so we know how these conditions extend and cause physical symptoms, too. 

The connection between the mental and physical

The physical effects of mental illness conditions aren't general or vague. Research continues to connect specific physical illnesses aligning with certain mental health problems. 

Depression links with many chronic illnesses. Depression sufferers have an increased risk of developing asthma, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Schizophrenia ties to an increased risk of heart disease and breathing disorders. 

Coping with chronic health issues becomes more difficult when you’re also battling mental health challenges. Mortality rates of cancer and heart disease become higher when you’re also dealing with mental illness. 

Sleep disturbances

About 10 to 18% of the general American population suffer from sleep disorders. These numbers skyrocket for those with mental health concerns. Between 50% and 80% of those dealing with mental health concerns also experience difficulty sleeping. 

There’s both cause and effect with sleep disturbances. Mental health issues can create sleep problems, and if you have physical issues causing a sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea, your mental symptoms may be aggravated. 

Physical to mental connections

Having certain physical conditions can lead to mental health issues too. For example, psoriasis can cause red sores that generate significant pain as well as an unsightly appearance. Connected with acute stress and depression, perhaps due to esteem issues related to the appearance of these sores. Feelings of rejection or stigma about appearance can lower your mental well-being. 

Any health condition can take a mental toll when it begins to dominate your thoughts and inform your actions and reactions. Anxiety and depression affect many of those who deal with long-lasting health issues. 

Digestive system responses

A symptom of anxiety is often a feeling that your stomach is knotting up. As anxiety continues, the feeling could turn into physical reactions, including diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite or other symptoms affecting your digestive process. 


Another example of the tight connection between brain and body, stress is often regarded as a mental state, yet it’s also a series of physical responses. Adrenaline and cortisol levels stay high when stress is chronic, rather than being a short-term response, as nature intended. These natural chemicals take their own toll with the presence of prolonged stress. 

Ketamine and esketamine therapy provide a new approach to treating many mental health conditions that may be resistant to other treatment options. Call or click the nearest location of KETA Medical Center to schedule a consultation. We will diagnose and treat your mental health symptoms, leading to healthy and happy overall wellness. Book your visit today.