The Cleveland Clinic

Depression:
Depression Caused by Chronic Illness

A chronic 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.