Moment Of Clarity

How Disease Affects Your Mental Health

Many of you know how passionate I am about mental health. I believe our mind, our psyche, is the most powerful part of our body because it can play a large role in healing our physical bodies and help us achieve great things in our life.

While research has always referenced how powerful the mind can be, the scientific community has exploded over the last decade with research that supports the development and maintenance of good mental health.

For those of you who are only swayed by a medical doctor, board-certified gynocologist, Drai (no, he’s not related to the “other” Dr. Dre) weighs in on the link between mental illness and physical diseases.

JET: Are some diseases linked to mental illness? If so, what are they and how are they connected?

Dr. Drai: Absolutely. Studies show that diseases cause mental health issues in 25% of psychiatric patients AND contribute to them in more than 75%. For example, thyroid problems, both overactive and underactive, have been linked to depression and anxiety. Additionally, Vitamin B12, Folate, Vitamin D deficiencies, changes in your hormones during the postpartum period or having sleep problems can be linked to depression. In some cases, though not all, low blood sugar, liver disease, heart disease, lung issues, and hair loss can also be a sign that there is an underlying psychological stress.

JET: How can some disease exacerbate mental illness?

Dr. Drai: Mental illness is caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological factors. As a women’s health expert, I mostly see this exacerbation when a patient has a chronic illness. Dealing with a chronic medical condition can be stressful. Stress is a trigger for those susceptible. That’s why support groups are so important when you have a chronic medical condition. You need someone to talk to. You also need to learn ways to de-stress.

JET: How should people talk with their doctors about mental illness so they can receive proper care?

Dr. Drai: You have to be open and honest with your doctor. It’s okay and you are not alone. Having a mental illness does not make you “weak.” With proper treatment, you can learn to cope or recover.  Sometimes psychotherapy isn’t enough; you may need to take a medication and that’s okay, too.

JET: Is there anything else you want to share?

Dr. Drai: The stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental illness is a barrier that we must overcome, especially in the African- American community. Overcoming that barrier is getting better.

Dr. Drai, a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, is an author, speaker, consultant, and expert on women’s health and transgender health issues. Being a concierge physician, he travels the country to meet with women one-on-one and in groups to help them achieve their healthcare goals. Dr. Drai is the founder and chief medical advisor of, where he discusses actionable ideas and real-world strategies to help women take control of their health. His mission: Real medical advice, simplified.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in clinical and spiritual psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and RoHun.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!