Symptoms of Certain Mental Disorders May Actually be Caused by Physical Illness

Mental disorders are typically stand-alone conditions, but a new study shows that mood and anxiety disorders may be linked to certain physical conditions. An Italian study showed that sudden onset of these psychological disorders could be a harbinger of conditions like Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, myocardial infarction, AIDs, and even lung and pancreatic cancer. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were actually linked to the medical conditions.

This study shows the importance of seeing a doctor for both physical and psychological complaints. Your doctor should be able to screen for anxiety and depression, as well as to test you for medical conditions that could be behind your symptoms. If appropriate, he or she might also refer you to a mental health specialist.

Mind-Body Link Works Both Ways

On the flip side, if you suffer from a chronic medical condition, it can cause an emotional disorder like depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, treating the emotional issue is essential. Otherwise, the depression may cause the medical condition to worsen and even increase the risk of death. If you have a chronic illness and are also experiencing symptoms of depression, let your doctor know. He or she can either treat the problem or refer you to an appropriate professional to provide treatment in tandem with the care for your chronic condition.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also recommends getting actively involved in your treatment as a way to fight feelings like anxiety, depression, and anger. Researching your condition and working closely with your doctor gives you a sense of empowerment that can help fight some of the emotional turmoil that comes with a chronic diagnosis.

If you're having troubling symptoms that appear to be related to anxiety or depression but aren't sure whether you should see your doctor, you can do your own pre-screening online. WebPsychology has a variety of self-tests, including one for anxiety and one for depression.