Physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects

Page 6 • Colorado Nurse February, March, April 2015
It’s that time of year when many of us make
resolutions to better our health. Often, this focuses
on the physical aspects our health; diet, exercise,
and nutrition. Wellness means overall well-being.
It incorporates the mental, emotional, physical,
occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects
of a person’s life. Each aspect of wellness can
affect overall quality of life, so it is important to
consider all aspects of health. This is especially
important for people with mental health and
substance use conditions because wellness
directly relates to the quality and longevity of
your life.
That’s why SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative
encourages you to incorporate the Eight
Dimensions of Wellness in your life:2
Emotional – Coping effectively with life and
creating satisfying relationships
Environmental – Good health by occupying
pleasant, stimulating environments that
support well-being
Financial – Satisfaction with current and future
financial situations
Intellectual – Recognizing creative abilities and
finding ways to expand knowledge and
skills
Occupational – Personal satisfaction and
enrichment from one’s work
Physical – Recognizing the need for physical
activity, healthy foods and sleep
Social – Developing a sense of connection,
belonging, and a well-developed support
system
Spiritual – Expanding our sense of purpose and
meaning in life
Why Wellness Matters for People with Mental
Health and Substance Use Conditions
Peer Assistance Services
What are the Eight Dimensions of
Wellness in Your Life?
Poverty, Social Isolation, and Trauma
People with behavioral health problems
often live in poverty and experience social
isolation and trauma, which can lead to
higher levels of stress and/or reduce access to
quality primary care services that can help
prevent and manage these deadly conditions.
Tobacco
75% percent of individuals with behavioral
health problems smoke cigarettes as compared
to 23%of the general population.1
Half of all
deaths from smoking occur among patients
with mental or substance use disorders.
Every year, smoking kills about 200,000
people who live with mental illnesses.
Obesity
Obesity is frequently accompanied by
depression and the two can trigger and
influence each other.3
In fact, a study of obese
people with binge eating problems found that
51% also had a history of major depression.
Medication Side Effects
The high prevalence of CVD risk factors
can be explained in part by unfavorable
psychiatric medication side effects—
particularly on increased metabolic risk
factors for CVD.4,5,6 Weight gain from
medication treatment of schizophrenia and
affective disorders is a well-established side
effect of antipsychotics affecting between
15 to 72% of people taking the medicines.
Other Substance Use – Alcohol and Drugs
Heavy and binge drinking is associated
with numerous health problems, including:
damage to liver cells, inflammation of
the pancreas, various cancers, high blood
pressure, and psychological disorders.7
Lack of Access to Quality Healthcare
People with behavioral health problems
lack health insurance coverage at far higher
rates than the general population. Due in
part to the lack of provider knowledge in
working with these populations, people
with behavioral health problems often
receive a poorer quality of healthcare.
Achieving health and wellness calls for
an integrated focus on both the mind and
the body. In addition to the difficulties
presented by mental and/or substance use
disorders, individuals with behavioral
health conditions often face other health
challenges that impact their wellness.
There are effective tools and interventions
designed to prevent and intervene early to
avoid illness and promote healthy lifestyle
behaviors and overall wellness. SAMHSA
works to ensure that individuals who are
at high risk for or have a mental and/or
substance use disorder have access to and
receive appropriate behavioral health services
as well as primary health care services to
prevent and treat other medical conditions
and to maintain health and wellness.
For people with mental health and substance
use conditions, wellness is not the absence of
disease, illness or stress, but the presence of
purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying
work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body
and living environment, and happiness.1
People
with mental health and substance use conditions
die decades earlier than the general population,
mostly due to preventable medical conditions
such as diabetes or cardiovascular, respiratory, or
infectious diseases (including HIV).
We can all make healthier communities a
reality.
Adapted from www.samhsa.gov/wellness
Peer Assistance is a regular column in The
Colorado Nurse provided by Peer Assistance
Services, Inc. PAS contracts with the Colorado
Board of Nursing to provide the statewide
Nursing Peer Health Assistance Program. For
more information please go to our website
PeerAssistanceServices.org or call 1 800.369.0039.
We invite your comments and suggestions for
future article content: email [email protected]
Authored by Carla Garcia, MSN, RN, CARN-AP,
Nurse Lead Case Manager.
1. Dunn, H.L. (1961). High-Level Wellness, Beatty
Press: Arlington, VA.
2. Adapted from Swarbrick, M. (2006). A Wellness
Approach. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal,
29(4), 311–314
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Copyright of Colorado Nurse is the property of Colorado Nurses Association and its content
may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright
holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for
individual use.

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