In addition to physical health, a select number of our providers also specialize in mental health. Mental health is a cornerstone of overall health. We offer mental health screenings as part of our preventative approach to care.
Why Is Mental Health Important?
There is no denying that mental health and physical health are connected. The body and the mind are always communicating. You can be aware of this communication, such as when you push the gas pedal after you notice the traffic light turns green. Sometimes, you aren’t aware of the communication between the mind and the body. For example, you blink because your eyes need more moisture. You may not be aware of this happening, but your mind and body are making it happen through communication. So, why is mental health so important, and how does mental health affect physical health?
Mental Health Statistics
Mental health impacts many people across the United States. If you struggle with a mental illness, you are not alone. As of 2019, 51.5 million people experienced a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders range in severity from mild to severe. Such disorders can impact your ability to function on many levels, especially if left untreated. Symptoms can range from minimal to severe and affect your ability to perform daily activities such as brushing your teeth and sleeping. Your efforts at work or school are also likely to be affected. You may not be able to interact with family and friends like you used to. You may keep to yourself and not want to do enjoyable activities that you once did. Mental illness can also impact your overall physical health and quality of life.
How Mental Health Affects Physical Health
Science shows a direct link between certain mental health disorders and physical health problems. People who experience mental health issues such as depression and schizophrenia do not live as long as people who do not experience those disorders.
Research also demonstrates that:
- People who suffer from schizophrenia are at triple the risk of acquiring a respiratory disease and passing away from it.
- People who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are 50% more likely to die from heart disease than those without the diagnosis.
- People with depression have a 50% increased risk of dying from some form of cancer.
- People with depression have a 67% increased risk of dying from heart disease.
- People who experience mental health disorders are less likely to receive routine medical care that can detect physical issues earlier.
It is important to understand that the link between mental and physical health isn’t a one-way street. Mental health problems can increase your risk for physical health problems. Likewise, physical health problems can also increase your risk for certain mental health problems.
People who experience the following chronic diseases are at increased risk for depression:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Multiple sclerosis
What Causes Mental Health Issues?
There is no single cause for mental illness. Many factors can contribute to the development of mental illness. These factors include:
- Medical and physical health problems such as chronic pain, diabetes, and cancer
- Chemical abnormalities within the brain
- Addiction to drugs and alcohol and substance use
- Environmental factors such as the experience of trauma, abuse, and neglect
- Lack of social supports and social isolation
What Should I Expect During a Visit for Mental Health?
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder you should contact your doctor. Your doctor may ask you a set of questions to determine whether you have any symptoms of mental illness. They can also refer you to a mental health professional.
During a visit for mental health, you may be asked questions about:
- Your family history
- History of mental illness
- Family dynamics
- Childhood upbringing
- Current symptoms
- Current behaviors
- Substance use
With this information, a licensed mental health professional can recommend effective treatment options based on your treatment plan goals and current problems.
What Is a Mental Health Assessment?
A mental health test or assessment is a series of questions that gathers information about your mental health, behaviors, genetic and family history, and current problems. A mental health assessment tries to determine if you have a mental health disorder and, if so, the severity of the disorder. PHQ-9 is a common assessment to screen for depression and GAD-7 is used to screen for generalized anxiety disorder.
A mental health assessment can help determine proper interventions and courses of treatment. This can include behavioral therapy, group therapy, medication, and other supportive and ancillary services. At Healthcare Associates of Texas, we offer a variety of treatment options for mental and physical wellness. Visit our appointments page to book a visit with one of our providers.