Though mental illness is frequently stigmatized in our society, it’s important to remember that mental illnesses are just as real and impactful as physical illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Despite what society may believe, mental health challenges are not signs of weakness, instability, or moral failing. In fact, mental illness can have a real impact on our bodies, including directly affecting the functioning of our brains, just like physical illness can affect the functioning of other vital organs like our heart and lungs.
In this article, we are going to explore the different ways that mental illness can affect our brains, from changing the way our brains work to interacting with related conditions like substance use disorder and trauma. After reading this, we hope you’ll better understand how our mental health has a physical impact on our brains and bodies, and how to better find support for ongoing mental health challenges.