Updated: Mar 17, 2019
Depression/anxiety and physical illness are closely linked. Not only can physical illness contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety; depression and anxiety can first reveal themselves with physical symptoms. As parents of teens or young adults, it is important to be aware of the correlation as well as the signs to look out for.
Chronic illness, injuries, and hormonal issues can often be a culprit in depression and anxiety. Anytime a person’s normal routine is interrupted by a physical illness or injury, it can be so disruptive that it can result in depression or anxiety. If a person is suddenly unable to engage in activities they once enjoyed because of the physical limitations of an injury, there is a big loss of identity and connection. For example, if a teen or young adult happens to experience a sports injury, it can be very traumatic emotionally as well as physically. All of a sudden, there is a hole where time with the team and healthy exertion and sense of success used to be.
People who don't realize they are suffering from depression or anxiety may experience symptoms which can feel like a heart attack. What they are actually experiencing is a panic attack.
Depression and anxiety can also manifest in physical symptoms. In my experience as a counselor, very often, people who don't realize they are suffering from depression or anxiety may experience symptoms which can feel like a heart attack. What they are actually experiencing is a panic attack. The heart races, and the person may feel as if they cannot catch their breath. They may feel dizzy or faint, and may have difficulty breathing. They may also have a loss of appetite as well as disruption in their sleep. They may not feel relief until they run out of the room or exit the car or place where the panic attack came on. There is help available!
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Anxiety has been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions. When people with these disorders have untreated anxiety, the disease itself is more difficult to treat, their physical symptoms often become worse, and in some cases, they die sooner.”
As parents, it is very important to be mindful of your teen and young adult’s physical health as well as emotional health. When one area suffers, both areas can suffer. It is vital that you keep the lines of communication open between you and your young adult, and also to let them know about the link between their physical and emotional health. Remember, you have one body, one mind, and one overall combined health and so does your teen!
eSupport counselors are trained to help you and your teen with depression, anxiety and symptoms of panic disorder. Please let us know how we can help you on your journey toward wellness.