Woody Allen has a famous quote: “My hypochondria is genetic.” While he gets a few laughs for his clever observation, what he really gets is credit for pointing out, long before the rest of us, that mental health impacts physical health and physical health impacts mental health. Case in point: we’ve seen Woody on a psychiatrist’s sofa as often as we have seen him on the physician’s table – dealing with the same set of symptoms!
It’s becoming very clear that poor mental health negatively impacts physical health. It’s been shown that depression can lead to an increased risk of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. As a result of the symbiotic relationship between mental and physical health, more health providers are being instructed to pay attention to, and evaluate, the psychological well-being of a patient when they are addressing their physical symptoms, and vice versa.