Mind Your Body AND Your Mind

in Blog
March 18, 2016

It’s hard to get through a day without getting advice about health and wellness. Every time we turn on our morning news shows, open the newspaper, or check out our Facebook newsfeed, we get tips and tricks to keep our diets or exercise plan on track. And when we’re at the doctor, we hear about the importance of lowering our blood pressure and cholesterol and scheduling regular screenings. But, more often than not, these moments reflect concerns about physical health, and we rarely recognize or discuss the importance of staying mentally fit as well as physically fit.

The mind and the body regulate each other. When we exercise, our minds benefit from a release of chemicals that help ease sadness and anxiety. Similarly, when we experience depression, we often feel aches and fatigue in our bodies. Most people know that they should see a doctor when they are experiencing physical ailments, but they may not know that there could be a correlation between their physical conditions and their mental health. Men in particular often miss this connection.

Untreated depression and anxiety can prevent people from managing other conditions and often exacerbate their physical symptoms. On the other hand, people living with serious and persistent mental illnesses often have physical illnesses that go untreated. To complicate matters, psychotropic medications can affect their metabolisms, causing weight gain, diabetes, and other serious health problems.

Even with increased awareness of behavioral health challenges and treatment, there is still far more stigma attached to these than physical conditions. We know that the easier it is to access behavioral health care at the same time as physical care, the less likely people will feel the stigma of treatment–and the healthier they will be. When health providers address underlying behavioral health issues instead of just physical conditions, people are happier, live longer, and require fewer healthcare services.

Care providers who understand how the mind and the body work together can help patients develop wellness plans that support “whole person health.” That’s why North Range Behavioral Health has long believed in the importance of integrated care – treating the whole person, mind AND body. A true medical team is skilled at assessing all conditions that may be affecting one’s wellbeing. We partner with Sunrise Community Health, Salud Family Health Center, and Banner Family Medicine Clinic to offer integrated care services.

So when you’re thinking about your health, consider a “check up from the neck up.”  It’s time we all considered the body and the mind in our approach to health.

Larry Pottorff
North Range Behavioral Health
Executive Director

Visit www.northrange.org/integratedcare to learn more about our approach to “whole person health.”