- There is a mental aspect to every physical disease. How we react to and cope with disease varies greatly from person to person. For example, the rash of psoriasis may not bother some people very much. However, the rash covering the same parts of the body in someone else may make them feel depressed and more ill.
- There can be physical effects from mental illness. For example, with some mental illnesses you may not eat, or take care of yourself, very well which can cause physical problems.
Some physical diseases are thought to be particularly prone to be made worse by mental factors such as stress and anxiety. For example, psoriasis, eczema, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and heart disease. It is thought that the actual physical part of the illness (the extent of a rash, the level of the blood pressure, etc) can be affected by mental factors. This is difficult to prove. However, many people with these and other physical diseases say that their current mental state can affect how bad their physical disease is at any given time.
Some people also use the term psychosomatic disorder when mental factors cause physical symptoms but where there is no physical disease. For example, a chest pain may be caused by stress and no physical disease can be found. Physical symptoms that are caused by mental factors are discussed further in another leaflet called Somatisation/Somatoform Disorders.