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Is my mental state of mind affecting my body permanently?

Patient: Depression and social phobia are damaging my physical health? Because of those, I feel very shy and I’m embarrassed with my look because I think I’m really ugly and fat, so not only I never meet with people but I also avoid going in my backyard because I feel exposed, I’m afraid someone from a nearby condo might see me, and I almost never open my windows fall through early summer because I’m afraid I talk out loud and someone hears me, while I just hope that nobody in the neighbourhood knows that I even exist. With these premises it’ll be easy to understand that I almost never get any fresh air, I always stay in my room, I never exercise, I spend all of my time in front of the computer or a book. I need glassed and not always I wear them, because I forget, because I feel even uglier with them on. I also drink a lot of beer, although I never get drunk and that is not why I drink it, I drink it only because I like the taste so much since I hate everything that’s sweet, but still I drink around 2 liters or more, 2.3, 2.6 sometimes, and that is everyday. I’m not an alcoholic, if I were to be without any beer but with only water and whiskey I’d drink water, it’s not my goal to get drunk or to assume alcohol at any cost. Beer also makes me fall asleep better, which is very hard for me, I also have to take a lot of sleeping pills combined just to fall asleep and get to sleep through the night without waking up every 20 minutes. I often suffer from headache, like when I wasn’t hungry and I had a light dinner and I guess food wasn’t enough to absorb beer, but it also happens in the evening. It’s not strong and it doesn’t happen very often, sometimes can be 3 times a week but then a couple of weeks pass by without me feeling anything. Since I’m always hiding at home though, the rare times I go out for groceries or so I feel fatigue, heart accelerates, I get very hot and sweats a lot even in the middle of winter, and I know I should exercise at least at home if I don’t feel like going out, but I feel so apathetic all the time, I keep telling myself “after this chapter I’m gonna do some exercise, after this tv episode I’ll do something” but I barely ever do anything, even cleaning the house, because of my depression which makes everything look like such a hard task that I feel sorry for myself and I get even sadder. Now, I know that antidepressant pills+sleeping pills+alcohol is really really bad, but I need all of them for going on, without the antidepressant I feel so much worse, without the sleeping pills I don’t even sleep anymore, and beer is one of the few things that makes me happy because it’s so good, not because it’s alcoholic, same thing applies to tv shows, ipad, internet, my cat. Anyway, I know this combination is bad and as soon as I’ll feel a bit stronger (and I pray that’s going to happen) I’ll do something about it, but about my frequent headaches due to never breathing fresh air, my shortness of breath when I have to walk just a few meters, my over sweating which I assume is because I’m so out of shape (it’s 2 years now that I basically just sit all day long), do you think I should really worry about it, like start doing something now? Taking walks and so on? Or when my depression will get better and I’ll spontaneously will feel like moving around it won’t be too late to go back to health? Or the more times it passes the most I’m ruining my body for good? How long would it take for me to start again to just walk to the groceries stores without getting out of breath or sweating a lot? Is it even possible to go back or did I screwed my body too bad? I forget to say I’m seeing a therapist, so all taken care of on the mental part. Last thing: I saw on the homepage you published some of the questions you were asked, please do not share this with anyone, it’s really private, I’d feel mortified and ashamed to death if my confidence got published on the website for everyone to read, even if they don’t know me. I know it says to only ask one question but I wanted to give you all the infos, anyway the question is the first one, are my mental illness causing troubles to my physical health? Thank you.


Symptoms: Depression, social phobia, agoraphobia, headaches, fatigues, feeling hot all the time thus sweating, shortness of breathe, lack of motivation, gaining of weight, alcohol abuse, sleeping pills abuse

Doctor: Hello,Thank you for your medical query at AskTheDoctor.comI understand your concern.If you end up gaining lot o f weight and your BMI falls in the overweight-obese category, you will have difficulties losing the weight later and also, you will be predisposed to other obesity related problems such as T2DM or hypertension.So I suggest, firstly, please give up alcohol. You are already taking sleeping pills and antidepressants. The alcohol will completely slow you down and cause lots of harm mentally as well as GIT wise. It can end up causing severe gastritis or alcohol-related liver disease.So my advice would be, you start walking daily for at least 30-45 minutes daily. Even better option would be to start yoga if you can get hold of a good instructor. This will help with your social phobia too and give you more confidence as a human being. You’re getting short of breath because of a complete lack of physical activity and your weight. If you do not do anything about it, it will keep increasing. Also, beer makes you gain weight rapidly. So kindly try to cut it down gradually. Alcohol and excessive use of sleeping pills will further increase your depression levels too. So please be careful with what you are using. as this is causing a lot of other health issues besides increasing the depression levels.And I assure you, this question will not be published anywhere.Hope this was helpful,Regards.


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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