Describe a risk factor that might impact physical and/or mental health. Describe a risk factor that might impact physical and/or mental health.

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A family history of depression or substance abuse (or both, since they could easily be connected) could impact a person's physical and/or mental health.  Left untreated, depression caused by chemical imbalances can become severe enough to cause physical symptoms:  aches, pains, extreme fatigue for example.  A predisposition to addiction leading to substance abuse could certainly cause mental stress and physical problems, like the liver problems alcoholics frequently experience.  A person with an addiction will likely not be taking care of him or herself in any aspect of his/her life, which could lead to other physical problems.  Even a person without a genetic predisposition to addiction might turn to substance abuse to assuage the pain, which could then lead to an addiction.  The mind-body connection has also been studied a great deal by people seeking to determine how our thinking and spirituality might influence our physical health.  A

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think that it is interesting that you group physical and mental health together. Poverty is a risk factor that affects both. Poverty affects our physical health because when we are poor we don't have access to quality health care when we need it. We also usually eat a diet high in salt and fat and low in nutrition, because healthy food costs much more than junk food. The poor are also much more likely to live near environmental hazards, such as pollution and lead. Poverty affects mental health too. It is extremely stressful to be poor, and the poor often live in high-crime areas and have broken families. The lack of a strong support system and a healthy environment can lead to substance abuse, which an affect both mental and physical health.
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Tragically, a high percentage of the homeless population in the United States also suffers from mental illness. In addition, a high percentage of them are also veterans of America's wars. So one major risk factor for mental health issues is those Americans who have been in combat. They are less likely to seek psychological help, and the things they have seen and done sometimes leave them unable to cope with the daily world of families, and undiagnosed PTSD is common.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that a lack of exercise is a major factor that can impact both physical and mental health.  We know that getting more exercise can help a person have better heart health, blood pressure, and weight.  We also know that getting exercise can help make people generally feel better about themselves mentally.  I think that this is perhaps the most important factor (that people can actually control) in determining physical and mental health.