HomeHealthPhysical Symptoms That Could Point To Mental Health Disorders

Physical Symptoms That Could Point To Mental Health Disorders

Disclaimer: Presented by BetterHelp.

When you think of mental health disorders, what comes to mind? You may picture someone who withdraws from their loved ones, stays in their room most of the day, and loses interest in the hobbies they once loved.

While these behaviors can be common among individuals experiencing mental illness, it’s important to recognize that many symptoms remain hidden because they’re happening inside the person’s body. This can make detection challenging even for the discerning individual.

Although mental health disorders manifest differently even in people with the same condition, physical symptoms are common. Left untreated, these symptoms could lead to chronic illness, making it essential to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness early on to get timely and appropriate support. 

Continue reading to learn more about the physical warning signs that could indicate a mental health disorder. 

What Are Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health disorders are conditions that can affect a person’s cognition, emotional reasoning, thinking patterns, mood, emotional regulation, as well as their behavior. Oftentimes, several of these areas are impacted. 

There is no singular cause of mental health disorders, but there are some factors that may put a person at heightened risk of developing one. These include:

  • Having a family history of mental illness
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Traumatic experiences, especially during childhood
  • Using alcohol or drugs
  • Being isolated or feeling lonely
  • Experiencing a traumatic brain injury 
  • Living with a chronic illness

Individuals living with a mental health disorder may experience slight to drastic impairments in their daily functioning, depending on the type of disorder, its severity, and their access to treatment. Spotting these conditions in their early stages can be crucial in preventing symptoms from worsening. 

Many people attend therapy to get to the bottom of their symptoms and start on a treatment plan. However, you can also visit a therapist for other reasons as well, such as those listed in this article: www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/why-do-people-go-to-therapy/

Physical Symptoms Associated With Mental Health Disorders:

Experiencing a mental health disorder can present a host of challenges beyond mood, behavior, emotion, and cognition. They can also create difficult physical symptoms that may make it even harder to engage with life as usual. Some of these symptoms include: 

Gastrointestinal Issues: 

Stress, anxiety, and other conditions can lead to frequent stomachaches and upset in the digestive system. Those with existing medical conditions like IBS or Crohn’s disease may find that their symptoms worsen when they’re anxious or stressed. 

Changes in Energy Levels: 

Whether you’re feeling consistently fatigued or suddenly feel on top of the world, having a drastic change in your energy level could indicate the presence of a mental health disorder. Depression is often marked by persistent sluggishness, fatigue, and loss of interest, while bipolar disorder is associated with periods of depression and mania (excessive energy and excitement). 

Appetite Changes: 

Eating too much or not eating enough could both be cause for concern. Those with anxiety might have trouble eating due to stomach upset, while those with depression may overeat to try to cope with their feelings. However, the opposite can also be true. Eating disorders typically involve changes in appetite, as well as other warning signs. 

Aches and Pains:

From headaches to joint pain to tension in your neck and shoulders, unexplained achiness could signal a deeper issue. If you haven’t recently injured yourself and can’t find a cause for your pain, consider that it could be a symptom of a mental health disorder.

Crying Spells: 

Crying is natural and has several healing properties for the body and mind. However, frequent crying spells that come out of nowhere may need to be examined further. There isn’t a set amount of crying that makes it healthy or unhealthy, so try to base your judgments on your usual patterns. If you don’t cry often and are suddenly crying multiple times a week, it could signal a concern. 

Sleep Problems: 

Insomnia and oversleeping are common in individuals experiencing mental illness. Anxiety and OCD can make it challenging to fall asleep at night, particularly when a person feels stuck in a cycle of rumination. Depression might make people not want to get out of bed, whether due to a lack of energy, negative thoughts, or both. 

Difficulty Concentrating: 

Living with a mental health disorder can make it more challenging to stay on task without getting distracted. Many aspects of life require us to be focused, such as when completing homework, taking an exam, or working. Thus, someone who feels like they can’t focus on anything can experience a severe impact on their quality of life. 

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s vital to visit a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. After a full exam, you can work with your doctor or a therapist to determine whether your symptoms could be explained by a mental health disorder. 

Preventing A Mental Health Disorder:

Taking steps to stay physically and mentally well can be instrumental in preventing the onset of a mental health disorder. Some of the ways you can take care of your mind and body include the following:

  • Regularly exercising
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Staying connected with loved ones
  • Practicing self-care
  • Visiting a therapist
  • Attending your annual doctor’s exams
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Participating in hobbies you enjoy

By actively safeguarding your physical and mental health, you can help stave off potential problems and live a healthier lifestyle. 

A Final Note:

Remember that no one is immune to mental health disorders, and they can still develop despite your best efforts. Being familiar with the signs of mental illness can be helpful should you need to find support and treatment. Although physical symptoms can be difficult to detect, they can also be useful warning signs from the body that something isn’t quite right.  

I'm Bipasha Zaman, a professional author with vast experience in the research field. Presently, I work for many sites. Also, I have a strong passion for writing creative blogs.


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