The Latin date mens sana in corpore sano It refers to the need for both our physical health and our mental health to be balanced, and to the interconnection that exists between them. There are numerous studies that prove that leading a healthy lifestyle - a healthy diet, practicing physical exercise, sleeping the necessary hours ... - not only prevents the development of diseases and lengthens life expectancy, but also contributes to our emotional well-being.
In the case of people who suffer chronic pathologies, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cancer, among others, the problems associated with the treatment of the disease, the side effects of medications, and the symptoms that impair the quality of life of These patients make them more likely to suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. In turn, the problems that affect the mental and emotional health of these people make it difficult to manage their disease and worsen the prognosis of it.
Those affected by cardiac pathologies, or those who have suffered a heart attack or a stroke, suffer depression with a frequency between two and three times higher than the rest of the population
Thus, those affected by cardiac pathologies, or those who have suffered a heart attack or a stroke, suffer depression with a frequency between two and three times higher than the rest of the population. The same goes for diabetics, while COPD patients are up to three times more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder, and they have panic attacks ten times higher.
In the United Kingdom, 30 percent of the population - more than 15 million people - currently suffer from a chronic illness. Taking into account that these patients are two to three times more likely to develop a mental disorder, four million chronic patients may also suffer a mental pathology. Against this background, the report 'Chronic diseases and mental health. The cost of comorbidity, elaborated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence of the United Kingdom, warns that it is necessary to establish programs that facilitate coordination between the work of mental health specialists and the rest of the professionals involved in the work. the care of patients with chronic diseases, in order to improve the outcome of the treatments without this implying an additional cost.
The report also points out that there is a bidirectional causal relationship between physical and mental illnesses; thus, people suffering from mental disorders and emotional imbalances, such as depression, chronic stress or anxiety, also have a higher risk of developing a wide variety of physical illnesses, compared to people who enjoy good mental health.
The lack of psychological attention to the chronically ill makes them more susceptible to die prematurely because of its pathology and, in addition, also increases health costs because it causes a worsening of symptoms and aggravates their disability, which increases medical consultations and hospital admissions. For this reason, the authors of the report advocate integrating mental health care into rehabilitation programs for patients with chronic diseases.