How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Mental Health

Hypertension and Mental Health: 6 Harmful Effects of High BP

Hypertension and Mental health”- these may sound unrelated but the connection exists.

Many may not think of mental health while talking about hypertension or high blood pressure. However, when you’re dealing with high blood pressure, you’re more likely to encounter emotional instability, mood swings, erratic behavior, etc.

Additionally, through a healthy lifestyle and proper medication, one can manage and keep high blood pressure under control. 

Even then, the pertinent high blood pressure condition can cause erratic behavior and mood swings as well.

However, with a proper and effective hypertension treatment plan, one can keep a check and improve the condition of their mental health.

Before moving on to the psychological effects of hypertension, let’s have a brief intro about what hypertension really is.

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which the pressure of your blood against the walls of arteries is so high that it gives rise to various health problems.

Furthermore, there are multiple stages of high blood pressure. A blood pressure reading of 120 over 80 (120/80) is studied as normal BP.

Moreover, the other ranges of hypertension are:

#1. Elevated HBP: 120-129 / less than 80

#2. Stage 1 HBP: 130 over 80 / 139 over 89

#3. Stage 2 HBP: 140 and above / 90 and above

#4. Hypertension Crisis: 180 and above /120 and above

It is ordinarily known that a consistent rise in blood pressure damages your blood vessels over time.

However, many don’t know that the same can influence your mental health as well.

How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Mental Health?

High Blood pressure and mental health

Hypertension can not only damage your physical well-being but it can affect you emotionally.

Furthermore, having high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily mean that you are only at risk of heart diseases.

The fact that just getting diagnosed with hypertension makes you anxious is one of the numerous proofs of how HBP affects mental stability.

Below mentioned are the connections between high blood pressure and mental health and how it puts your emotional health at risk:

#1. Prolonged Stress Level

If left untreated, hypertension can increase the discharge of stress-related hormones in the blood. 

And what’s worse is high stress eventually leads to hypertension. 

So, this two-way relationship between elevated stress and hypertension affects your mental health severely.

#2. Mood Swings

By interfering with your mood-regulating chemicals, the chronic inflammatory chemicals can cause an imbalance in your mental health.

Notably, high blood pressure is responsible for a lower level of chronic infections.

#3. Depression

It turned out that blood pressure drugs are associated with depression and multiple other mental illnesses as well.

As per the study, a variety of prescribed drugs to control hypertension have shown indications of persistent depression, mood disorder, and even bipolar disorder as side effects.

#4. Acute Aggression

It’s a widely known fact that hypertension gives rise to frequent and acute aggressive behavior.

To clarify, due to high blood pressure, the release of stress hormones gets to a high level, which naturally makes the person want to release that stress.

This desire to release stress, by any means, might make an individual aggressive and violent leaving his mental health at risk. 

#5. Anxiety

It has been found that people who were oblivious of their condition of hypertension have shown signs of anxiety and restlessness.

To clarify, uncontrolled and untreated hypertension can give rise to higher levels of anxiety. 

#6. Risk Of Dementia

As per a study, the condition of high blood pressure in mid-life (40-64 years) can lead to dementia later on in life. 

To clarify, high blood pressure leads to narrower arteries affecting the flow of blood in the brain. 

Low blood flow to the brain causes a lack of nutrients and oxygen which eventually damages the brain cells.

NOTE: Vascular dementia has been found in people who have had hypertension in their mid-life. This condition is the consequence of low blood flow in the brain.

Furthermore, hypertension is also connected to resistance behavior and noncompliance. Herein, the patient denies cooperation and avoids taking proper medication.

Now, you should have a good idea of how does high blood pressure affect mental health and emotional well-being.

So, now if you ask can high blood pressure cause psychosis?

The answer will be a YES! 

If left undiagnosed and untreated, hypertension can surely do harm to your mental and emotional health.

Final Verdict 

The bottom line is high blood pressure can hinder your mental health in many ways.

The untreated high blood pressure condition can provoke severe mood swings, aggressive behavior, anxiety, and increased levels of stress. 

Whereas, some of the prescribed high blood pressure medication can lead to predominant and persistent depression and bipolar disorder as well.

Not to forget, in the long term, hypertension can also cause vascular dementia.

Therefore, proper treatment of high BP remains vital not only for physical health but also for your mental wellness.

Marcus Elburn

Marcus Elburn has been a healthcare professional for over a decade. With an educational background in Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology, his research interests include integrative medicine, cardiovascular fitness, and metabolic health and its relation to weight loss. He is very much into fitness and enjoys cycling and running. When not working, he takes time out to write journals or binge-watch classic shows.

Leave a Reply