We often consider our body and mind as separate but they are interconnected. Physical illness and mental health have a strong relationship. People with physical illnesses are more prone to mental health problems as compared to healthy individuals.
Mental health refers to the psychological, emotional, and social well-being of the individual. It has a strong impact on “how we think, feel or act” in particular situations. Whereas, physical illness means a sickness or a disease or pathological condition leading to the impairment of normal physiological function and requires medical treatment.
Chronic Physical Illness Affects Mental Health
Chronic physical illness increases the risk of developing mental health problems and vice versa. People with chronic illnesses are twice as likely to develop mental health problems as physically healthy people. Nearly about one in three people with chronic physical illnesses have mental health problems. Various studies and research have shown that anxiety, stress, and depression are the most common problems developed by chronic physical illness.
Many physical conditions change the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. These changes along with the body also affect the functioning of the brain that leading to mental health problems. Parkinson’s disease is a mental health problem that is due to abnormality in the levels of dopamine. Whereas, chronic pain in the body affects the levels of GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and nor-epinephrine neurotransmitters which can be one of the reasons for Parkinson’s disease in the individual.
Apart from brain functioning, chronic illness may affect mental health by increasing stress levels. There can be many stressors like chronic illness changing the lifestyle of the individual, lowering self-esteem; the person may feel neglected by family and friends or family and friends becoming over-protective about him. These all factors increase the stress level of the individual and lead him to mental health problems and disorders. Proper counselling and therapy are needed, which not only treat mental health problems but also help the individual in recovering from chronic physical illness.
Effectiveness of Online Therapy
Counselling in Mental Health Issues
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world order; people shifted from physical to online like online studies, online commerce, online medicine prescriptions, etc. Like all these things, in-person counselling also shifted to online. Is online therapy as effective as in-person? This is a big question but recent studies and research have shown that online it is as effective as in-person, especially in treating anxiety, stress, depression, and substance abuse.
Online therapy is beneficial both for the client and the therapist. The therapist doesn’t need to stick in his office. He can take the sessions during lunch break, from home or at any place of his comfort. The client doesn’t need to travel to the clinic or office especially when someone has a chronic illness. Online therapy provides a chance for the client to sit in a place where he or she feels comfortable and can take the sessions. People who have physical limitations and cannot come to the clinics can benefit from online sessions. Research has shown that clients who are shy and are reluctant to share their problems in the face to face sessions, easily share their problems in online sessions. Online therapy gave a higher level of comfort to the clients that come with being able to stay in a familiar environment like your home. It also takes away the barriers to scheduling appointments and transportation and reduced the stigma of taking therapy. No one knows that you are taking therapy sessions.
Chronic illness leads the individual to mental health problems, which not only affect their personal and social life but also slow down the recovery process of healing from that illness. Proper therapy sessions are required to treat these mental health problems and online counselling has shown tremendous results in terms of its effectiveness.