Mental Disorders Increase The Risk Of Chronic Disease

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Mental Disorders Increase The Risk Of Chronic Disease
Mental Disorders Increase The Risk Of Chronic Disease

Video: Mental Disorders Increase The Risk Of Chronic Disease

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Video: Mental disorders and risk of developing chronic physical diseases 2023, January
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Mental disorders increase the risk of chronic disease

Scientists have established a strong link between poor mental health and health behavior. They found that psychological stress triggers unhealthy behavior. Unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking, and physical inactivity, leading to the onset and development of chronic diseases, was a direct result of psychological stress.

Mental disorders increase the risk of chronic disease
Mental disorders increase the risk of chronic disease

A patient with a sleep disorder. Photo: Wikimedia Commons /

Poor mental health may be behind an increase in chronic illness, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Western Australia and published in Social Science & Medicine.

The study was based on data from a nationally representative Household, Income and Labor Dynamics Australia Survey for 2007–2013. Specifically, it looked at how individual responses to the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, 10-item questionnaire) affect a person's likelihood of poor nutrition or unhealthy lifestyles.

“Previous research shows that poor mental health is associated with poor lifestyle habits, and our research has confirmed that there are significant consequences for men and women. However, the particular interest is in what actually causes bad health habits,”said Dan Hoang, lead author of the study.

Scientists have established a strong link between poor mental health and health behavior. They found that psychological stress triggers unhealthy behavior. Unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking, and physical inactivity, leading to the onset and development of chronic diseases, was a direct result of psychological stress, especially in men.

In the case of women, the direction of the connection was less clear. The findings suggest that in women, causality can be cyclical, meaning poor mental health causes unhealthy habits, which in turn worsens mental health, and so on.

Social policies that encourage people to quit smoking, cut down on alcohol, exercise regularly, and eat a balanced diet are a reliable method of reducing chronic disease.

“However, now that another root cause of this behavior has been identified, it is imperative to integrate a strategic response to reduce psychological stress in the chronic disease management plan,” said study co-author Dr. Ian Li.

Raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health issues among clinicians, friends and family members will not only improve a person's mental health, but also reduce their likelihood of acquiring chronic illness.

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