As important as physical health is our mental health. The way we feel, experience the world around us, and how we can deal with stress all fall under the term Mental Health.
Most adults will have experienced mental health problems in their lives. The number of people facing mental illness continues to rise each year even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Three of the most common mental health disorders experienced today are anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and chronic stress.
Mental health and physical health are closely related. Mental health issues can negatively impact our physical well-being. Conversely, living with a chronic mental health problem can make it harder for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For many mental health disorders, there may also be an underlying physical cause.
Constantly feeling worried, fearful, or uneasy are classic signs of anxiety. While it is normal to feel anxious sometimes, if you experience persistent anxiety that negatively affects your everyday life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can be felt both physically and mentally.
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling restless all the time
- An ongoing sense of dread
- A sense of guilt or shame
- Having trouble concentrating
- Flushing hot or cold
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains or a feeling that you are having a heart attack
- Feelings of numbness or pins and needles
- Ringing in the ears
While there are no specific causes of anxiety, some lifestyle and genetic factors may increase your likelihood of experiencing anxiety.
More than a mental health problem, stress can have a major impact on your physical body. When our fight or flight response is triggered the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released. Once the danger has passed, the levels of these hormones go down. With chronic stress, our stress response hormones remain raised. Raised levels of cortisol are particularly harmful to our bodies.
Chronic stress manifests in the following ways:
- Sugar cravings
- Problems with your digestion
- High blood pressure
- Unexplained weight gain
- Sleep issues
- Feeling tired
- Difficulty concentrating
- A weak immune system
Chronic stress can strain your physical body and can also increase your risk of developing other illnesses such as diabetes, cardiac disease, or mood disorders such as depression.
Feeling down or depressed after a major event such as the loss of a loved one or a job can be normal. But when you find yourself constantly tired, unable to enjoy yourself, and always either tearful or irritable, you may be dealing with a deeper depression.
Major depressive disorder is a serious illness that can lead to many emotional and physical problems. Depression remains one of the most common mental health problems worldwide.
Symptoms of depression can either be mild or severe:
- Feelings of sadness
- Low energy and fatigue
- Loss of sex drive
- Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
It is important to rule out any other conditions that could be causing these symptoms.
Some medical conditions can have the same symptoms as depression such as thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, and even brain tumors.
Heavy Metals and Mental Health
In our modern environment, we face ever more exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury. Low levels of heavy metal toxicity can cause mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety, stress, and more. On the other hand, not getting enough of certain minerals such as iodine, selenium, and zinc can negatively affect neurocognitive functioning and our mental health.
Testing for levels of heavy metals in the body can be a simple way to differentiate between whether you are suffering from environmental toxicity or a psychological mental health disorder.
The Lab Me At-home Metal Toxicity test assesses the levels of essential nutrients in your body as well as the levels of toxic elements. Testing for a wide array of heavy metals and essential elements is an excellent way to detect dangerous exposure and assess what is missing from your diet.
If you smoke, live near an industrial area, have thyroid-related problems, or if you suffer from symptoms like anxiety, stress, and depression, you may want to test your heavy metal and essential element levels first.