The body and mind are strange things. And though we like to think of them as separate entities, they are intimately connected. We know, for example, that stress raises blood pressure, which in turn elevates the risk of heart attack and stroke. Likewise, depression can lower immune function, making you more vulnerable to communicable diseases and chronic pain.
Chronic physiological symptoms always warrant a trip to the doctor, but if your doctor can find nothing wrong with you, consider the possibility that your symptoms might actually have a psychological origin. These five symptoms commonly co-occur with a host of mental health issues.
Chronic Muscle Pain
Stress, anxiety, and depression can cause you to physically tense up. Over time, this creates chronic muscle tension. You might not even be aware that you’re tensing your muscles, potentially causing you to worry you have a chronic illness or a muscle injury. But if your muscles continually hurt, your doctor can find nothing wrong, and strategies such as exercise and massage offer only temporary relief, your mental health might be the real culprit.
When your head hurts, it’s easy to convince yourself something neurological is wrong. Most headaches are actually muscular in origin. When the muscles in your shoulders and neck tense up, the pain can travel to your head, causing long-lasting headaches. In some cases, stress may even change how your body processes neurotransmitters and hormones, adding to your head pain. If your doctor says there’s nothing wrong with your head, see if a massage of your neck or shoulders helps. If it does, you’re suffering from tension headaches that are likely psychological in origin.
A number of minor and major health problems, ranging from food allergies to cancer, can cause gastrointestinal distress. You should always get these issues checked out with a doctor first. If your doctor finds nothing wrong, anxiety could be the culprit. Digestion is a sensitive process, and small disruptions n your body can throw things off. Chronic diarrhoea, stomach pain, gas, bloating, and even vomiting may indicate anxiety or depression.
Twitches and Tremors
Almost everyone develops a short-lived twitch at some point, and these twitches—often in the eye—can be scary. They’re usually nothing to worry about, and are often related to stress and eye strain. Get checked out by your doctor if you’re concerned, but if the problem persists and your doctor finds nothing wrong, consider the possibility that the problem is stress.
Insomnia is almost always psychological in origin. From depression that disrupts your sleeping schedule to anxiety that keeps you up all night, it’s easy to fall into an unhealthy insomnia cycle. Try cutting out caffeine and getting plenty of exercise during the day. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to consult with your doctor and a counsellor.
Three Seas understands the close connection between mind and body, and we can help you resolve issues that affect both. You deserve to feel better, and we can help you get there with counselling.