Depression is not just "feeling blue" or "down in the dumps" It is a medical condition just like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, Clinical depression is a serious but often treatable illness. Symptoms of depression occur in as many as one-third of people with a chronic medical condition. The more severe the medical condition, the more likely a person will be clinically depressed.
Why are many people with chronic illnesses depressed?
Some medical conditions may contribute biologically to depression. And depression may also be an emotional reaction to being ill. Contributing factors include chronic pain, dietary restrictions, medical regimes, and the side effects of medications. A medical illness that results in disabilities and losses may affect the role you play as a provider and/or parent and challenge your emotional equilibrium. Having a chronic illness may lead some people to feel inadequate or damaged. Eighty percent of those with depression can be helped by treatment. Symptoms can often be relieved in a matter of weeks.
There is growing evidence that treating depression in patients with a chronic physical condition may improve their medical condition, reduce the degree of pain, increase activity and lessen disability, enhance their quality of life and increase their ability to follow their treatment plan.
If you think you may have symptoms of depression along with your medical condition, the first step is to see your doctor.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health, InteliHealth/National Mental Health Association
Last updated June 3, 2002