Nearly one in five adults in the United States has a mental health disorder, and we would not be going out on a limb to say that many of these people also have concurrent physical health issues. The link between your mental and physical health is strong, and in this month’s blog post, we’re focusing on the connection with men’s health.
Here’s a look at the many ways in which your physical and mental health are related.
Mental health and erectile dysfunction
Let’s start with one of the more common health concerns that can develop in men — erectile dysfunction (ED), affecting more than half of men in the US at some point in their lives.
The road to ED is complex, and multiple factors can play a role, including these areas of your health:
- Metabolic (hormone)
- Neurologic (nerves)
- Low Testosterone
Studies demonstrate that there is more than a passing association between ED and your mental health. For example, one study found that 82% of men with ED also reported symptoms of depression. Looking at it from another angle, further studies demonstrate that 35% to 47% of men with depression also experienced problems in their sex life.
While these numbers paint a clear picture, it also makes plain sense that a problem with your sexual function can lead to increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, often forming a vicious circle that can be hard to escape.
Chronic illness and your mental health
Another area in which your mental and physical health can overlap is when there’s a chronic illness. While chronic illnesses certainly aren’t confined to men, it bears a closer look.
Here again, numbers effectively demonstrate the link:
- People with type 2 diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop depression
- One in four people with cancer has clinical depression
- More than one-third of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a mental health issue
As with ED, the link is bi-directional, as researchers have found that people with depression are at a 64% greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Recognizing and treating both sides of the equation
We feel it’s important to recognize the link between a man’s physical and mental well-being and address both for the best possible outcome. For example, we can help you overcome problems with erectile dysfunction, which can lead to an improvement in your mental health.
Conversely, if a mental health issue is leading to sexual dysfunction, we can help you address your mental health, which may resolve or improve certain health conditions like ED.
If you feel that your mental and physical health are both under attack at the same time, we urge you to contact our office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to get on the road to better overall wellness.