The Doctor Is In: The important connection between mental & physical health

Wausau, Wis., (WSAW) -- There is often a clear distinction made between 'mind' and 'body.' But when considering mental health and physical health should the two be separately?

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To talk about the link between the two Sunrise 7 was joined by Dr. Dileep Bora Psychiatrist with North Central Health Care.

The field of medicine has historically viewed mind and body as separate but there is ample research available now and a stronger push from the medical community to be aware of and address the strong connection between mind and body.

Dr. Borra says there is a strong connection between mental health and physical health. Several studies have showed higher use of psychiatric services by those who are physically ill and higher-than-expected prevalence of physical illness in people with psychiatric problems.
One way, psychiatric problems manifest physical is in self-care. This includes healthy lifestyle choices such as regular physical exercise, balanced diet, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use and substance use.

“This impacts their physical health and makes them more susceptible or vulnerable to chronic medical conditions such as obesity, joint pains, diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” says Dr. Borra.

On the flip side there can also be psychological impact of chronic physical/medical problems on patients. Patients might feel like they are a burden on their family or on society in general, they often feel embarrassed and self-conscious about receiving medical treatment. It impacts their relationships with their friends and family and colleagues. If not addressed, Dr. Borra warns that it could lead to worsening anxiety, depression, negative self-evaluation and thoughts of suicide.

According to Dr. Borra, integrated care is a rapidly growing field which involves having a psychologist in the primary care centers that can provide assessment and treatment and appropriate referral for mental health needs of people who are coming there for medical problems.