PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This year has been filled with anxiety and stress.
Psychiatrists say if you do not find ways to manage your mental health now, it could impact your physical health later.
Ask around about how 2020 is going and people will be honest.
“Daunting,” one person said.
“Twenty-twenty is definitely hard to describe in one word, but weird is at the top of my list,” said another person.
This is for a number of different reasons.
“Having to deal with pregnancy in the middle of a pandemic and feeling like I couldn’t have access to the resources that were available pre-pandemic,” one person said.
“I was laid off,” another person added. “I worked on hospitality in sales and New Orleans. Obviously, with the pandemic travel restrictions and everything, it really has made a major impact on our tourism.”
This year has thrown so many curveballs to so many people. The memes about it have been everywhere. But the stress may have a much bigger impact than we think.
In fact, psychiatrists say those days when you think to yourself, ‘I physically cannot,’ there is a reason for that.
“The brain and the body are connected by more than the neck,” said Dr. Patton Nickell, the chair of Allegheny Health Networks’s Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Institute.
Nickell says high levels of mental stress can have a serious impact on your physical health.
“When somebody’s body is under stress or distress, the body has ways that it copes with that. And if those stresses last too long, those mechanisms can run awry and cause health problems,” Nickell said.
Problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
“Probably not directly caused by stress but consequences of physiological adaptations that adapt over time,” Dr. Nickell said.
The doctor’s best advice? Stop stressing about getting back to your normal life and make the best of your new normal life.
“Many folks have been waiting for the COVID thing to settle down so they could get back to their ‘normal life’ and it’s not going to happen for a while,” the doctor said.