women rubbing her head while sitting in front of a computer screen

The connection between mental health and physical health is often overlooked.

Director of Research for Loma Linda University Health’s Behavioral Medicine Center, Brian Distelberg, PhD, MA, briefly tackles this issue in five questions below:

1. How can mental health cause or exacerbate physical pain?

Bottom line: our heads are connected to our bodies. Mental health and physical health are interdependent — which means they can’t be completely separated. Those in the health field are beginning to realize that the two need to be treated together. The treatment of one without the other is not only less effective, but the sustainability of the treatment is reduced.

2. Can a mental illness fuel physical diseases that already exist?

Mental illness can lead to a physical condition and vice versa. Many mental health issues are rooted in stress on a very basic level. When someone has a mental health issue, their stress responses become more frequent and pronounced. This process of frequently releasing stress chemicals into the body can become toxic and greatly exacerbate current physical issues.

3. What symptoms indicate that someone’s mental health is suffering?

People should be aware of quality of life as something directly impacted by someone’s mental health suffering. It can be a significant indicator if someone would benefit from mental health services.

Check out the video below to continue exploring the interdependency of mental and physical health as discussed by Distelberg. 

If a mental health condition is causing suffering in your life, or the life of someone you care about, visit our behavioral health services website and learn more about how Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center can help. Request information on a diagnosis or treatment, or any behavioral health concerns, and one of our intake coordinators will contact you.

Meet Our Providers

Brian J. Distelberg

Director of Research, Associate Professor