The Link Between Women's Health and Mental Illness

Health and mental illness are hot topics in the women's health field. Want proof? The World Health Organization, United Nations and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services all have web pages dedicated specifically to mental illness in women. That's because mental health has a very significant impact on a woman's overall health, how her body functions and even her ability to reproduce.

Mental Health and Mental Illness in Women

We all know that men and women are affected differently by mental illness and mental health disorders. While some disorders like depression and anxiety are more prevalent in women, women also show different symptoms and researchers are studying the different psychosocial and biological factors that affect a woman's mental health and mental illness.

Common mental disorders in women include: Depression, Anxiety Disorders, like OCD, social phobias, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders.

Health and Mental Illness- Chicken and the Egg Scenario?

Are women who suffer with chronic health conditions more likely to suffer from a behavioral health disorder or are women suffering from behavioral health disorder more likely to suffer from significant physical health concerns? It can be difficult to determine which is a symptom and which is a cause. What we do know is that women with chronic health conditions tend to be at high risk for behavioral health disorders and women suffering from behavioral health disorders may increase their risk for physical health conditions, such as obesity or migraine headaches.

Reproductive Health and Mental Illness

Stress has a significant impact on a woman's body. Stress and co-occurring issues like depression and anxiety can make it difficult for a woman's body to regulate hormones, making her menstrual cycle unpredictable or even irregular. Many women experience depression and anxiety disorders during and after pregnancy. Normal hormonal changes during and after pregnancy or menopause can mimic they symptoms of depression, making it very confusing for a woman to determine if she is suffering from a physical health issue or a mental health disorder. Hormone and talk therapy are useful for women suffering from both physical health and mental illness, especially as it relates to menstruation, pregnancy, infertility and menopause.

Female Veterans and Behavioral Health Disorders

While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can happen to anyone, it is common among soldiers or law enforcement personnel who experience traumatic or emotionally stressful situations. Women with health and mental illness concerns after the military can seek help from a variety of public and private veteran's services that are specially equipped to handle the stress of returning home and reuniting with family.

By : Benjamin Brafman
Article source : The Link Between Women's Health and Mental Illness
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January 14, 2015 at 4:23 AM delete

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