Written by Amanda Schwait Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
Samantha is a 36-year-old woman with two children who has been trying to balance working full-time and being with her family. She’s always been a “superwoman” type of person, in that she’s able to find time to exercise, cook, be successful at her job, and being a mom and wife. However, the other day, she experienced some chest pain while shopping with her kids and found it hard to catch her breath. She tried ignoring it, but then it happened again at work, which resulted in her having to go home for the day. She became very worried and scared that something was physically wrong with her. It seemed to be getting worse and more frequent. She eventually went to the E.R. expecting news that something was wrong with her heart. But, after numerous tests, the doctors assured her that there was nothing physically wrong. They asked if she’d been feeling stressed or anxious, and suggested that she visit a psychologist.
For so long, the medical and psychological communities have been thought of as separate fields. Have you got a migraine? Go to the doctor for medication! Are you suffering chronic back pain? Visit a pain management doctor! While there are many steps to take in health management, they don’t always fully lessen our concerns. As we learn more about the mind-body connection, it becomes clearer that we need to think of our health within the context of our very complicated lives.
At Rice Psychology Group, we are experienced at treating a wide range of emotional, behavioral and stress-related issues that can make life hard. Contact us if you need someone to talk to.
A Startling CorrelationStudies show that people under chronic stress for long periods tend to have worse health. Click To Tweet
Research studies show that people under chronic stress for long periods tend to have worse health. Heart-related conditions, respiratory illnesses, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and various other physical ailments are more common among those coping with emotional and psychological stress. The release of “stress” chemicals can weaken the body’s defenses in fighting physical illnesses and can even lead to further health problems.
Health psychology is the study (and treatment) of the psychological and behavioral components of health and illness. Health psychologists work with a variety of concerns, including:
- Pain management
- Chronic headaches/migraines
- Stomach discomfort
- Smoking cessation
- Weight loss
- Adjustment to disease
While these may seem like medical issues, it’s important to know that they all have a psychological component! Think about it like this, it’s easier to stop smoking when you understand some of the social situations and behaviors that make you want to smoke, such as being at a bar. And we might find a new way to lose weight if we figure out that we eat more when we’re feeling stressed or lonely.
Think About ItTake some time to think about your health concerns and how your mood impacts them. Click To Tweet
Take some time to think about your health concerns and how your mood impacts them. If you sleep worse when you’re stressed, tend to have migraines around holidays or your back pain gets worse when you’re feeling down, remember that these are signs that will make you want to address your health with a therapist and not just a physician. A health psychologist can help you tackle some of your health concerns in a new light and provide valuable insight into how to be the best functioning person possible.
Always Wanting to Help
Our team of licensed psychologists and therapists fully understands the complexities of how mental health can affect you on a physical level. Stress is one of the most common mental health issues suffered by millions of people, and we will do our best to help you feel better. We will sit down with you and listen carefully to what you have to say. Then together, we can think and talk about possible solutions to your problems in a comfortable, non-judgmental environment. Contact us today in Tampa if you’d like to get started.