How Does Diet Relate To Mental Health?

By |2020-01-24T03:29:11+00:00February 3rd, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , |

While mental health treatment and discussions are openly available in modern health studies, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. One of the things we are finding out is just how much external factors, like environment, impact mental health. Simultaneous to the rise in mental health awareness, physicians have seen a rise in concerns about nutrition and dietary wellness. So how do those two components of health impact one another? This week we explore the connection between diet and mental health. Read on to learn all about nutritional psychiatry.

The Two Are Definitely Related

Psychologists know that there are a few things that link food and mental health. Physical components of health such as gut bacteria, hormones, neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters are all impacted by food. Human brains need nutrients and all of the components of food to function.

However, trying to get specifics about how specific foods impact mental health is a very challenging process. As with a majority of mental health studies, everyone has a slightly different answer. Those widely varying answers are additionally obfuscated by potential pre-existing health conditions that the responder is not aware of.

Correlation Not Causation

For example, if someone develops a wheat allergy later in life, they may not be aware of it. However, whenever they eat things with wheat in it, they feel the negative impacts on their allergy. The physical issues impact the person mental health-wise as well. Instead of connecting the issue to wheat, the person possibly connects the negative side effects to carbohydrates. When they cut out carbs, they’re cutting out wheat.

Once they eliminate carbs, they start feeling better, both mentally and physically. However, their improvement is due to the elimination of wheat, not carbs. This person likely believes that not eating carbohydrates improves people’s mental health in general. However, this is simply not the case. All that happened was that the individual in question stopped ingesting the food that they were allergic to.

Possible Ties Discovered Thus Far

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional system that is derived from the typical diet of European countries. It emphasizes plant-based eating, cooking with olive oil, fish, poultry, beans, and ancient grains. Recent studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet works as a proactive measure against depressive episodes.

Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet is a nutritional plan that consists of foods high in natural fats and low in carbohydrates. Some scientists have posited that the keto diet helps children with drug resistant epilepsy prevent seizures. Less seizures leads to less trauma and better mental and emotional health.

Vitamin B-12

B-12 deficiencies are linked to psychosis and mania as well as other mental health symptoms. For those people with deficiencies, taking B-12 supplements significantly improves both mental and physical health.

Veterans Mental Health

By |2020-01-14T00:14:37+00:00January 6th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , |

Information for this article was pulled from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. If you or a loved one is a U.S. military veteran, explore further physical and mental health resources here.

Members of the United States Armed Forces sacrifice quite a bit during their years of service. Veterans affairs is always a hot button topic in the United States. As many have pointed out, there is a gulf between the respect veterans deserve and their treatment once they retire. Read on to learn about veteran mental health, more particularly, common mental health issues in veterans.

Mental Health Treatment For Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs treated 2.1 million veterans for the five year period of 2006-2010. Yet the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that only 50% of veterans received the necessary mental health treatment in that period. This led to the federal government establishing the Interagency Task Force on Military Mental Health in August, 2012.

There are a few reasons why ex-military members struggle to connect to mental health resources. These reasons are identified by the Government Accountability Office, as well as independent psychology studies.

  • The military has increasingly equal gender opportunity but is still predominantly male. Many male veterans experience a perceived shame for seeking mental health assistance. In addition to the shame, many male veterans also feel weak or less masculine for seeking mental health help.
  • Long wait times to receive treatment.
  • Logistical issues in accessing treatment.
  • Distrust that the V.A. mental health treatment options.
  • Lack of funds to seek mental health options outside of V.A.

Common Issues With Veterans’ Mental Health

Substance Abuse

As many as a quarter of people who experience overseas deployment have a substance abuse issue. Many people think of substance abuse as a problem with hard drugs. However, a majority of substance abuse issues are actually with alcohol, followed closely by prescription drugs.

Prescription drug addiction is an issue in general in the United States right now. Veterans, however, are at a higher risk of exposure to addictive pain meds to the increased risk of injury while deployed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is the brain’s response to a severe trauma, such as combat situations. PTSD causes the sufferer to relive the traumatic event and to experience panic attacks triggered by situations similar to the event. For example, a veteran who went through a traumatic event involving an IED shouldn’t be around fireworks going off. PTSD symptoms also align closely with anxiety and depression.

Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety and depression, while common in the general population of civilians, is even more prevalent in veterans. The two have a variety of symptoms, which we have explored in the past. Psychologists link depression to past events and anxiety to worry about the future.

Symptoms Of Poor Mental Health

By |2019-12-03T21:33:32+00:00November 19th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |

Fortunately, discussions of health and wellness nowadays nearly always includes mental health. That’s for good reason. Mental health and physical health have been linked time and time again. Mental health is a spectrum with a wide variety of possibilities on both the good and bad side. No two mental illnesses look the same, even when two people have the same diagnosis. Join us as we break down the most common symptoms of mental illness.

A few notes before we start. This is by no means a comprehensive list of symptoms; every form of mental illness has different warning signs. If you or someone you love needs assistance, please reach out to a mental health care professional. There is a comprehensive list of helplines, crisis lines, online chats, and text messaging for a variety of issues here. All of these resources are free and most are operational 24/7.

  1. Excessive Sadness.

It is normal for humans to experience sadness occasionally. However, the sadness of mental illness is unmistakably different. It is a deep sadness that is almost like a cloud over people who are affected. From the outside, the sadness may seem illogical or excessive. Inside, the person is suffering greatly, and the melancholy feels inescapable.

  1. Extreme Mood Swings.

Mental illness often pushes emotions to their extreme. Those who are suffering either experience emotion at its extremes or have a complete absence of emotion. When dealing with the extremes, the mind often switches rapidly through despair, anger, and euphoria.

  1. Aversion To Socializing

Oftentimes, people with mental illness struggle to make it through the day while completing the bare minimum required of them. The sufferer is left with no social energy at the end of the day. This mental and emotional exhaustion means that they do not want to spend much time with other people. They will often disconnect from people entirely. If they do socialize, it is irregularly and often for short periods of time.

  1. Changes In Schedule

Changes in schedule include changes in appetite, sleeping habits, and sex drive. For appetite, the mental illness returns again to extreme. Either the individual loses all of their appetite, or they turn to binge eating. The same happens with sleep schedules. Insomnia is a common symptom of many mental illnesses, as is sleeping all day. Even if the person is getting the proper amount of sleep, it may be on the wrong schedule.

  1. Substance Abuse

Abusing drugs and alcohol is a fairly common way to cope with mental illness. The process is commonly referred to self-medicating. Substance abuse allows the individual to escape their problems, or at least distract themselves from them.

  1. Physical Problems

In psychology, there is a term for the physical side effects of a mental illness; psychosomatic symptoms. There is not one specific type of psychosomatic issue. It often presents as headaches, stomachaches or other vague pains. Some people may use the terms “run down” or “sore

Three Ways You Can Prevent Dementia

By |2019-09-14T18:54:01+00:00September 18th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |


Dementia is expected to impact three times as many people as it does now in 2050. The very thought of dementia is a scary prospect: a progressive problem that decreases memory and other cognitive abilities, sometimes extending to affect behavior and quality of living.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of different neurological issues. Despite monumental efforts from medical researchers and professionals, we still know relatively little about dementia. 

This week, we explore suggestions from the medical community on the best ways to prevent dementia.

Don’t Smoke

Cigarettes are immeasurably harmful. Many organizations have led successful campaigns against them for this very reason. However, medical professionals have expressed concerns about the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, vapes, and marijuana. Anytime that you are taking anything into your lungs has the potential to cause harm.

Smoking is not adding much to people’s lives, in reality dementia is yet another reason to not smoke.

Maintain Your Health

There are a few components to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. First is maintaining a healthy weight. What this weight may be is different for every person. Diet culture causes some people to try and lose weight constantly – which is not necessarily what is best for your body. If your doctor does not have concerns about your weight, maintaining your current weight is healthier than your weight fluctuating constantly. 

Along with maintaining a healthy weight, you should also be eating properly and exercising on a regular basis. 

Perhaps the biggest part of maintaining your health is handling any health issues that you know you have. Existing health issues that require regular monitoring include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

To control these health issues, you should schedule regular appointments with your physician. Typically, these are annual checkups, but your doctor may want to see you more regularly. Additionally, you should follow all instructions provided by your physician. Adjust your diet, or exercise, and take any medicine that he or she prescribes.

Keep Your Brain Active

The most recommended way to combat dementia is to keep your brain as active as possible. Just like any of the other suggestions, it is not guaranteed, but it is the medical community’s best safeguard for now. 

Oftentimes older adults struggle to engage themselves on a regular basis. It is fairly common to hear retirees complain that they are bored. A good way to combat this stagnation is to pick up a hobby. Something as simple as doing the daily crossword puzzle in your local paper is a good start. Other games like sudoku and word searches are also helpful.

Social circles are another good way to stay engaged. Gatherings like book clubs, sewing circles, and community service organizations can be amazingly beneficial. Not only do they advance the hobbies that are so helpful to mental engagement, they also require communication and socialization. Engaging with other older adults helps maintain mental agility and helps improve memory.

Mental Health in Senior Citizens

By |2019-09-14T18:53:34+00:00September 11th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , |

According to the World Health Organization, the population of people over the age of 60 years will grow from 12% of the population to 22% by 2050. This means that senior health issues are of growing concern to the world health community. As mental health is discussed more openly by the public, it is important that people aged 60 and older also receive a similar education.

This week, we explore how mental health issues impact older adults, as well as ways to help.

Older Adults Experience Serious Mental Health Risks

Living as a human in the modern world is indisputably a stressful experience. These stressors pose a significant risk to mental health, and older adults experience additional facets of life that increase their stress levels.

Additional stressors that older adults may experience at a higher rate than other age groups:

  • Decline of physical ability: including reduced mobility, chronic pain, or other health problems. This may lead to dependency on medical personnel or family members.
  • Bereavement, or serious loss.
  • Drop or stagnation of socioeconomic status due to retirement.
  • Isolation or loneliness. 
  • Elder abuse, particularly financial abuse. Current studies suggest that 1 in 6 people aged 60 or older experience elder abuse.

It is important that people understand how physical and mental health impact one another. As physical condition deteriorates or someone deals with chronic illness, it negatively impacts mental state. Physical incapacity leads to complex feelings such as embarrassment, denial, and frustration. If these feelings are not addressed, they can develop into mental illness. Oftentimes, this leads to depression and anxiety in older adults.

How To Help

The good news is that, as a society, we are more educated and publicly aware of mental health issues than ever before. This broad education means that we are given more opportunities to spread the awareness to older adults. 

If you are an older adult, and you believe you may be dealing with depression or anxiety, the best thing you can do is reach out. Mental health issues are taken much more seriously than they used to, and doctors realize that psychology is an important part of a person’s overall health. You can reach out to a trusted family member or a doctor. Most insurance agencies cover psychologists and psychiatrists now, so treatment is affordable.

 If you are a family member or caretaker of an older adult who may have mental health problems, it is important to reach out. It is essential that when you reach out, you are not condescending. It is easy to believe that because of past misconceptions about brain function, that an older adult may not know how to look after their themselves. Mental health is, much like any other medical issue, ultimately between an individual and their doctor. 

The best thing you can do is offer support and encouragement. Offer to be a person they can vent to if you are able. Sometimes, all it takes to strengthen mental health is a listening ear.

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.