The Costs of Mental Health

Many practitioners of Western medicine are starting to accept the fact that there is a connection between mental health and physical well-being. This school of thought has existed in eastern medicine for thousands of years, but western medicine has historically separated mind and body since the days of Descartes. There is both a physical and financial cost associated with mental health, but sometime its worth maintaining mental health to avoid severe problems in the future.

The Physical Toll of Mental Health Problems

Some mental issues have physical symptoms. People who experience panic attacks will actually feel like they are dying or having a heart attack. Those who have claustrophobia will suffer similar panicky symptoms and begin to experience a flight or fight response that is common in animals. These examples prove that the physical response and mental health are  interrelated.

Likewise people who suffer from high stress levels can develop negative health consequences such as high blood pressure. They are also at a greater risk for heart disease and some people even link an increased risk of cancer. While certain mental health issues can exacerbate physical health issues, some medical doctors maintain that there is a separation and therefore the symptom is treated rather than the underlying cause.

Options for Maintaining Mental Health

Most people will immediately think of a psychiatrist when mental health is mentioned. This person is someone who is trained to examine the mind and sometimes prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms. This is not necessarily treating the problem itself and the person may have to continue taking medicine for the rest of their lives if they remain under a psychiatrists’ care. Likewise, a psychiatrist does not come cheap and is likely the most expensive way to maintain mental health.

Some other options for people looking to improve their mental health are practitioners who use gentler methods, such as talking and focusing inwards to solve problems. A counselor often relies on discussion and video to alleviate problems and give patients a certain degree of perspective. Yoga also has therapeutic benefits associated with practice, namely decreasing stress levels and promoting a sense of calm and well-being. It is just as important to create a healthy lifestyle for positive mental health as it is to solve mental health issues that arise.

On the less traditional side of the spectrum is reiki healing, which works with patients’ energy channels and tries to unblock them. Though not widely accepted it has been helpful for a variety of mental health ailments. Acupuncture is another means of treating acute mental health problems. This method also relies on tapping into a patient’s energy and releasing any blocked or negative emotions.

Guest post by Jonathan Kerner — a financial adviser and writer who contributes to sites on topics related to loans, debt management and budgeting for health expenses.