Psychological factors can influence physical health either indirectly, by changing behaviors that affect your health, such as eating, sleeping and socializing, or directly, by producing changes in your hormones and/or heart rate. Additionally, the mind can interact with the benefits of a medicine, reducing the effectiveness of a certain drug or worsening the negative symptoms associated with certain medical conditions. Therefore, you should monitor your thoughts towards your health and psychological well-being when coping with any medical condition.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Stress may also reduce the efficiency of the immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to disease via the reduction of white blood cells that fight disease-causing bacteria.
Moreover, research at Salisbury University suggests that the repeated release of stress hormones produces hyperactivity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system and disrupts normal levels of the brain chemical serotonin, responsible for feelings of well-being. In other words, stress may not only weaken your immune system; it can take away from the sensation of feeling good and exacerbate the negative effects of an illness.
Lifting Weights & Insomnia
As a common risk factor for heart disease, depression can complicate recovery from a heart attack by altering how the heart and the circulatory system function. In fact, depression can wear down the heart and speed up the disease process. In addition, poor lifestyle habits related to depression, such as:
- social isolation
- a lack of exercise
- excessive alcohol or other drug abuse
- can harm your health system
Therefore, avoid depression by staying active or seeing a doctor as it can make the recovery from certain medical conditions increasingly difficult or even impossible.
According to experts, anxiety, depression and stress play interacting roles in the causes of insomnia, which can severely impair the body's healing processes. In fact, a 2007 research study reported by Harvard University examined the relationship between sleep and cellular immune function and found that people who fail to achieve adequate sleep--about six to eight hours--significantly altered their immune system similar to people who suffer from certain disease patterns, such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV infection 1. In essence, good cellular immunity and health results from adequate amounts of sleep and control over other psychological factors, such as stress, depression and general well-being.
Lifting Weights & Insomnia
Sleep Side Effects of Melatonin
The Effects of Not Sleeping at Night
Does Melatonin Make Depression Worse?
List of Coping Skills for Depression
Taking Vitamin B3 to Help With Sleep
How to Improve Yourself Mentally and Physically
What are the Best Sleeping Aids?
Side Effects of SAM-e Supplement
Effects of Laughter on the Human Brain
Sky Smith has been writing on psychology, electronics, health and fitness since 2002 for various online publications. He graduated from the University of Florida with honors in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology and statistics with a minor in math.