4 Reasons to Prioritize Your Emotional Health When Coping with a Medical ConditionNone By Sameer Ather, M.D., Ph.D.
When you're dealing with a medical issue, it's a constant source of stress. Keeping a positive outlook and maintaining emotional balance during this period isn't easy, but it is essential in the healing process. Emotional distress can have very real, physical effects on the body, and these can further aggravate your condition. By contrast, keeping your morale high during a period in which you are suffering from a physical health issue can help speed up recovery, or at the very least, help keep your condition in check.
Can a Medical Condition Actually Trigger a Mental Health Issue?
Medical problems can be very stressful, and there is an emotional dimension to any chronic disease. If your body is already fighting against an illness, it might not have the strength to fight off the negative effects of stress on top of everything else. If you're confined to bed rest, for example, it gives your mind a chance to wander, and this may lead to a tendency to overanalyze the condition you are in. Feelings of helplessness and lack of hope can be quite frustrating, and that frustration can build up over time. Likewise, certain medications, such as steroids, can have a negative impact on one's emotional balance. The added strain of suffering through mood swings and powerful emotions can leave you both physically and mentally exhausted, which further aggravates your symptoms.
Why You Should Keep an Eye Out for Warning Signs
A certain level of stress is to be expected with any medical condition, and negative thoughts are not always unhealthy. It shows you're aware of your condition, and that you're not in denial about your situation. Understanding the severity of your situation is a difficult process, and it will undoubtedly come coupled with some emotional distress.
But letting these feelings run wild can be very damaging in the long run. And sometimes, it can be difficult to spot the symptoms of a deeper emotional health issue.
Oftentimes, the effects of an emotional issue may look quite similar to the symptoms of the physical illness itself. Depression tends to be associated with headaches, back pain, and sleep problems—all very common symptoms. Since these warning signs cannot be observed indep