by Chronic Illness
illness is an illness that lasts for a very long time and
usually cannot be cured completely. However, chronic illnesses
can often be controlled through diet, exercise, and certain
medicines. Examples of chronic illnesses include diabetes, heart disease
, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV / AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
Why is Depression Common in People With a Chronic Illness?
People diagnosed with chronic illnesses must adjust to
the demands of the illness itself, as well as to the treatments for their
condition. The illness may affect a person's mobility and independence, and
change the way a person lives, sees him or herself, and/or relates to others.
For these reasons, a certain amount of despair and sadness is normal. In some
cases, a chronic illness may actually cause depression
Depression is one of the most common complications of
chronic illness. It is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a
serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression. Depression and
illness may occur together because the physical changes associated with the
illness trigger the
depression, the individual has a psychological reaction to the
hardships posed by the illness, or simply as a coincidence.
Which Long-Term Illnesses Can Lead to Depression?
Any chronic condition can trigger depression, but the risk
increases with the severity of the illness and the level of life
disruption it causes. The risk of getting depression is
generally 10-25% for women and 5-12% for men. However, those
with chronic illnesses face a much higher risk -- between
Depression caused by chronic illness often aggravates the
illness, especially if the illness causes pain, fatigue, or
disrupts your social life. Depression can intensify pain. It
causes fatigue and sluggishness that can worsen the loss of
energy associated with these conditions. Depression also tends
to make people withdraw into social isolation.
The rate for depression occurring with other medical
illnesses is quite high:
What Are the Symptoms of Depression in People with Chronic
Patients and their family members often overlook the
symptoms of depression, assuming that feeling depressed is
normal for someone struggling with a serious, chronic illness.
Symptoms of depression are also frequently masked by the other
medical conditions, resulting in treatment for the symptoms --
but not the underlying cause of the symptoms -- the depression.
It is extremely important to treat both forms of illness at the
What Can Be Done to Treat Depression in People With
Treatment of depression in people with chronic disease is
similar to that offered to other people with depression. Early
diagnosis and treatment for depression can reduce distress, as
well as the risk of complications and suicide. People who get
treatment for depression that occurs at the same time as a
chronic disease often experience an improvement in their overall
medical condition, a better quality of life, and are more easily
able to stick to their treatment plans.