What is making you sick?

I keep hearing a similar story too often.  Someone goes to repeated appointments, has multiple tests, sees different doctors until finally someone talks with them about their mental and emotional health. Culturally, we forget or discount that our mental and emotional health impacts our physical health.  If you feel sick to your stomach then the problem is in your stomach, right? It’s worth reiterating about what mental health problems feel like physically.

Depression

  • constantly tiredstomach pain
  • no energy
  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble staying asleep
  • physical pain or soreness
  • lack of sexual desire, decrease in sexual performance
  • weight changes, changes in eating habits
  • trouble focusing, poor concentration

Anxiety

  • nausea/stomach pain (upset stomach in children)
  • indigestion
  • IBS symptoms
  • sore muscles, back or neck pain
  • weight changes, changes in eating habits
  • headaches
  • jaw pain, grinding teeth

Panic Attacks

  • heart palpitations, feel like you are having a heart attack
  • feel like you are going to die
  • light-headed/dizzy, fainting
  • can’t catch your breath
  • sweating
  • nausea

It’s important to note that you are not making up your physical symptoms or just not being ‘tough enough’.  For example, most people genuinely thought they were having a heart attack or are dying when they have their first panic attack. Physically, your heart is racing, you can’t catch your breath, and you are about to pass out.  You aren’t making that up and simply calming down isn’t an option.  Mental health issues are medical problems because it effects the whole body.

Certainty these symptoms can have purely physical origins.  If the root is emotional or mental though, medications will only treat the symptoms and will not change the underlying condition.  Therapy is needed to ultimately resolve these symptoms.  Hopefully, we will all get better at recognizing and treating the actual problem.

-Jennifer