Mental health conditions can occur due to various causes, including a patient’s overall physiological state. For example, an injury to the brain or infection can result in a mental illness. According to the University of Utah Health, mental and physiological health should be equally prioritized [1].

Many physiological factors can contribute to developing a mental health condition. Here are some that show the physiology of mental health in young adults and older individuals:

Psoriasis

The physiological condition is an immune system illness associated with infection as a trigger. Individuals experiencing psoriasis may observe painful red sores on the skin. In most cases, patients who develop psoriasis may also experience significant psychological and emotional distress.

Due to the distress people experience from psoriasis, there’s typically a negative effect on their overall health. A study by the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology links psoriasis to various psychiatric disorders due to its high impact on patients’ self-esteem [2].

Another study involved data from over 13,600 men and women with psoriasis. After more than five years of follow-up, 2.6 percent of those individuals faced mental health challenges. However, the number almost increased to 5 percent after ten years.

Mental health disorders relating to psoriasis include anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, dementia, and schizophrenia. Since most patients with immune disorders like psoriasis can develop a mental disorder, dermatologists should provide the necessary help.

Treating psoriasis reduces symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. However, patients may still need to speak to a mental health professional.

Cancer

One of the most notable ways to comprehend the physiology of mental health is in a “cancer diagnosis.” According to the American Cancer Society, a cancer diagnosis can hurt the emotional health of patients [3]. Individuals may begin to feel significant levels of anxiety and depression. It also becomes difficult for such individuals to perform their daily routines.

A report shows that between 8 percent to 24 percent of people with cancer also experience depression. Young adults may also be at a greater risk of depression and other mental health conditions compared to adults. Most young adults have unique psychosocial challenges, including major depressive disorders, requiring clinical attention and practice management software.

There’s a high chance that mental health treatment can improve the survival rate of cancer. A study found that individuals treated with fewer depression symptoms had longer survival times than others. Patients who get mental health treatment observe an improvement in their medical condition. For this reason, they experience an improved quality of life.

PANDAS

PANDAS is a term that signifies Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. The condition relates to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other mental health conditions in children.

The primary cause of PANDAS is the attack by antibodies on the child’s brain health tissues, which results in brain inflammation. PANDAS may cause sudden movement disorders, abnormal neurologic behaviors, and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Most health professionals diagnose a child with PANDAS if they observe tic disorder, OCD, or both conditions. However, those disorders must follow a streptococcal infection like scarlet fever or strep throat. Most patients experience symptoms out of the blue and may become irritable or moody. Such individuals may also experience anxiety attacks.

A case report published in the National Library of Medicine shows that children tend to develop psychotic symptoms due to PANDAS [4]. Another clinical study on PANDAS shows a temporal association between group A streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis and abrupt development of OCD in 12 children.

Injury

Physiological injury to certain brain regions relates to developing certain mental health conditions. Apart from brain trauma, other severe injuries can also cause mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When injuries affect mental health, there may also be a reduction in recovery rates of the physical illness [5]. According to a UK study involving 668 injured adults, a significant number of those individuals suffered significant depression and increased pain levels after a month.

For better comprehension, it’s imperative to know how injuries affect mental health.

Why Injury Affects Mental Health

There are various reasons why injury can have a negative toll on an individual’s mental health. Here are some to note:

  • Pain: Feelings of chronic pain can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. There may also be a higher risk of substance abuse and suicide.
  • Time Spent in Treatment Facility: In some cases, hospitalization due to an injury can worsen a patient’s emotions. Over time, it causes feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Reduced Mobility: Lack of free movement due to a physiological illness can prevent individuals from socializing with others. If the injury makes such individuals stop work, they can feel like they are losing their purpose in life.
  • Lack of Full Recovery: When a patient feels like they may be unable to recover from an injury fully, they may feel depressed. This depression occurs because they feel an alteration in their normal day-to-day life.
  • Financial Situation: The inability to return to work can make a patient feel worried, which increases the risks of anxiety and depression.

Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition or an inadequate diet can cause fatigue, impairing decision-making. An inadequate diet in severe cases may lead to significant levels of stress and depression. Eating healthy is helpful for children and young adults to cope better with stress and manage emotions more appropriately [6].

Poor nutrition relates to the following as it concerns mental health:

  1. Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  2. Immune system function, which relates to mental health wellness
  3. Externalizing behavior in children (aggression, disobedience, and hyperactivity)
  4. Iron deficiency, which relates to cognitive function impairments

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References

  1. University of Utah Health, April 2022, ‘Mental Health is Just as Important as Your Physical Health’, https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2022/04/mental-health-is-physical-health.php
  2. Ferreira BI, Abreu JL, Reis JP, Figueiredo AM. Psoriasis and Associated Psychiatric Disorders: A Systematic Review on Etiopathogenesis and Clinical Correlation. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Jun;9(6):36-43. Epub 2016 Jun 1. PMID: 27386050; PMCID: PMC4928455.
  3. American Cancer Society, ‘Emotional, Mental Health, and Mood Changes’, https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/emotional-mood-changes.html
  4. Pavone P, Parano E, Battaglia C, Marino S, Trifiletti RR, Marino SD, Falsaperla R. Severe Psychotic Symptoms in Youth with PANS/PANDAS: Case-Series. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2020 Nov;30(9):567-571. doi: 10.1089/cap.2020.0050. Epub 2020 Jul 17. PMID: 32700992.
  5. Kellezi B, Coupland C, Morriss R, Beckett K, Joseph S, Barnes J, Christie N, Sleney J, Kendrick D. The impact of psychological factors on recovery from injury: a multicentre cohort study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2017 Jul;52(7):855-866. doi: 10.1007/s00127-016-1299-z. Epub 2016 Nov 1. PMID: 27803978; PMCID: PMC5504249.
  6. Rao TS, Asha MR, Ramesh BN, Rao KS. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr;50(2):77-82. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.42391. PMID: 19742217; PMCID: PMC2738337.