Mental health can increase of the risk of incontinence for the following reasons:
- Mental illness may interfere with the person’s ability to get to the toilet on time because of disorganized thinking, confusion or inattention;
- Medications used to treat mental illness can directly affect the bladder and bowel or make the person less aware of the need to go to the toilet.
- Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, not drinking enough fluid or drinking large amounts of caffeine – coffee, tea, chocolate drinks, coke cola, including diet coke.
- Poor physical health from long-term self-neglect.
What can be done?
- encouraging activities that improve overall health and reduce body weight, such as eating and drinking well, regular exercise and not smoking will reduce continence problems.
- Experts assert that problems such as anxiety, confusion, depression, nervousness or stress can actually aggravate already existing incontinence and bladder problems. As researcher Hillary R Bogner asserts, “causes of urinary incontinence are incompletely understood and include psychological and physiological factors outside the lower urinary tract”.
- We know that the body produces chemical neurotransmitters that communicate with each other on the cellular level. The key chemicals that deal with stress are called serotonin and norepinephrine. When your body is under a great amount of stress, these neurotransmitters inform all the other cells to get ready to either stand up to the stress or run away from it. Serotonin and norepinephrine stimulate our cells to respond in unexpected physical ways. Data over the years shows that these responses evoke three physiological processes: tendency to succumb to depression, your response to pain and unexpected bladder leakage.
Anxiety and depression
According to Beyond Blue Anxiety and depression are common in people with incontinence.
There are effective treatments both for incontinence and for anxiety and depression. With careful management, the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be treated along with those of incontinence so they do not interfere with life. Beyond blue have a fact sheet that provides information for people suffering from anxiety and depression
Beyond Blue website http://resources.beyondblue.org.au/