ABH Maryland

You Need to Know the Powerful Connection Between Mental Health and Physical Health


You Need to Know the Powerful Connection Between Mental Health and Physical Health

  • Mental Health

A person’s wellness encompasses more than just what a doctor can check during a physical. How does mental health affect physical health? It is a complex relationship between mind, body, and spirit, each influencing the other.

This article will look at some common ways that our mental and physical health interact and highlight some of the health problems that are most prevalent in the United States today.

Mental Health Effects on Physical Condition

When people see improvement in one aspect of mental health, such as decreased anxiety or depression, they often notice improvements in various parts of their physical health.

Maybe they suddenly feel more active, with increased stamina and energy, and find the desire to exercise more. They may notice improved hygiene and posture. 

Conversely, people may notice how their physical health suffers when their mental health suffers. Even those who would typically describe their mental health as “normal” or “average” still have to contend with sudden changes or challenges in life that can upset their ability to realize their complete happiness.

If these mental health challenges persist or are chronic, long-lasting conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can drastically impact their quality of life and shorten their life span.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these connections.

The Connections Between Common Mental and Physical Health Concerns


Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States, with almost 10% of adults suffering from a depressive illness each year. 

  • Physical Isolation: An individual who suffers from depression will feel sad, lonely, and unappreciated. Due to a lack of motivation, they may not leave the house or spend time doing activities they love.
  • Weakened Immune System: Depression weakens the immune system, leaving a depressed individual with a weakened ability to fight illnesses, allergies, and asthma attacks. They are more susceptible to inflammation, and take longer to recover from physical ailments. 
  • Suicide: One tragic connection between mental and physical health is suicide. According to the World Health Organization, suicide accounts for one percent of deaths globally. If you are considering suicide, dial 988 to access a free, 24/7 confidential support line for anyone in need.

Anxiety and Anger

Anxiety, which often results from trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has many adverse health effects.

  • Stroke: The connection between anxiety and cardiovascular disorders such as stroke is firmly established through research, though the exact mechanisms for this connection are unknown. Stroke remains a leading physical threat to people who suffer from anxiety.
  • Hypertension and Heart Attack: Chronic short-term stress causes spikes in stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, prompting the heart to beat faster and stronger. Over a person’s lifetime, this stress causes inflammation in the circulatory system, increasing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. 
  • Headaches: Constant bodily tension caused by anxiety leads to headaches. There are two common types of headaches: migraine and tension-type. Both are unpleasant and can be symptoms of concerns that mental health professionals could potentially treat.
  • Hyperventilation or Panic Attacks: Anxiety can cause shortness of breath and changes in breathing patterns. For people with pre-existing breathing conditions, this can lead to hyperventilation. For people prone to panic attacks, this can set them off into an anxiety spiral. 


  • Cardiovascular Disorders: A study by the US Department of Veterans Affairs found a connection between veterans who had PTSD and poor cardiovascular health. These observations included abnormal readings on ECG readings and defects in atrioventricular conduction.
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Traumatic events early in life change how the nervous system responds to stress, affecting the digestive system. People who have PTSD may be more susceptible to unhealthy diets, bloating, and chronic bowel disorders. 

Contact Us

At Advanced Behavioral Health, we understand the intricate connection between an individual’s mind, body, and spirit.

If you feel that your health is out of balance, or you would like to speak to a qualified, compassionate mental health professional, please get in touch with us. 

Our team members will be standing by to help you find the confidential consultation you need, so call us at 301-345-1022 or send us a message online here

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.