Research is showing that untreated mental illness alone confers a higher risk of worsening physical ailments.

Recent research is showing that mental illness can lead to the progression of physical ailments. In a recent New York Times column, Jane Brody speaks with Dr. David Spiegel of Stanford, whose research shows that breast cancer patients with improving depression lived longer than patients with worsening depression. This finding echoes other research showing depression can put post-heart attack patients at higher risk of cardiac adverse events.

It is becoming ever more clear that untreated depression and anxiety can keep people in a state of constant physical and emotional stress and lead to worsening of physical disease. According to Dr. Spiegel, when physicians don’t fully delve into the emotional or psychological toll of illnesses, chronic disease patients are often unable to fully improve. When physicians fail to screen for anxiety and depression, patients may continue to suffer and only show modest improvement in their physical disease.

At CalPsychiatry, our physicians are thoughtful in their approach to treating mental illness and its effect on the body. If you are struggling with persistently low mood or anxiety that seems to be worsening, don’t hesitate to call or book your free consultation today.


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