Chronic Illness and Depression

chronic illness and depression go hand-in-hand

It's hard to separate chronic illness and depression. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, you are not alone. To clarify, almost half of the population in the United States is currently battling some form of chronic physical illness. In fact, chronic illness is the number one driver of healthcare costs in America.

For example, some of the most prevalent examples of chronic illnesses are:

  • Epilepsy
  • Endometriosis
  • Lupus
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Fibromyalgia

Chronic Illness and Depression

Many people suffering from a chronic illness can become depressed. Further, it is estimated that roughly one-third of chronic illness patients suffer from depression. This is a rate that is significantly higher than in the general population.

Depression is often an immediate response to the diagnosis. It can be overwhelming to be told you will need to be treated for your illness for weeks, perhaps even a lifetime. Additionally, certain types of chronic illness can also, and quite suddenly, change how a person lives their day-to-day life. They may not be able to do the same things and, in some cases, completely lose their independence.

In addition, there are physical illnesses which can cause depression by hampering the central nervous system or endocrine system. For example, thyroid disease, Cushing’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain.

Symptoms of Depression

If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease, it’s important to watch out for signs of depression. These can include:

  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Losing interest in once-loved hobbies and activities
  • Changes in appetite (eating too much or too little)
  • Trouble with sleep (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble focusing
  • Thoughts of suicide



Counseling can help you overcome depression

Getting Help

Becoming educated about the link between chronic illness and depression is extremely important. So is seeking help. Be sure to discuss any symptoms with your doctor. They may recommend chronic illness counseling.

Many patients have found they can treat their depression right alongside their illness by using medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both. It is also helpful to surround yourself with a loving support network of friends and family.

If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic illness and depression and would like to explore treatment options, we can help. Nadya Clontz is a specialist in treating chronic illness and depression.

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One thought on “Chronic Illness and Depression”

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