Helping News                                                   June, 2012   Issue 47

Physical and Mental Health: Is There a Relationship? 

Individuals with mental illnesses are more likely to have chronic health conditions and to use healthcare, a national survey has affirmed. Those who reported having any mental illness or a major depressive episode were more likely than others to have high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and stroke, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Those with a serious mental illness were more likely to have high blood pressure, asthma, and stroke. Individuals with any of these conditions were more likely than adults without these mental illnesses to visit an emergency room or require hospitalization.

The findings were based on combined 2008 and 2009 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which collected information on mental illnesses and health conditions in the past year. Following are some examples of the reported physical health concerns of those with serious mental illnesses, compared with those who reported no mental illness:

High blood pressure (21.9% vs. 18.8%) 
Diabetes (7.9% vs. 6.6%) 
Asthma (15.7% vs. 10.6%) 
Heart disease (5.9% vs. 4.2%) 
Stroke (2.3% vs. 0.9%) 

The report states that treatment plans to address both mental and physical health symptoms need to be developed and communicated to all members of an individual’s healthcare team.

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