Chronic Illness and Depression

Chronic Illness and Depression

For many people, chronic illness is a way of life. A chronic illness is not necessarily fatal, but it is a condition that likely will last a lifetime. Some examples of chronic illness include diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. They require daily management via diet and exercise, certain specific procedures and usually medication. Without following a certain routine, a chronic illness can flare up and become a big problem.

People with chronic illnesses often become depressed, because they realize that their situation will not improve. Having to follow a specific routine on a daily basis without the opportunity to take a break once in a while, can make you feel defeated in life. You can become resentful that others without a chronic illness have a more carefree lifestyle, and are not limited in what they can do.

chronic illness

Depression Creeps Up

After dealing with a chronic illness for some time, your self-esteem can certainly take a hit, making you feel bad about yourself, as if you aren’t as good as others who don’t have the yoke of chronic illness about their necks. These feelings can eventually bring about feelings of depression, feelings that you may not recognize.

At first, you may go to the doctor, concerned that your condition may be worsening because you are often tired, or have other physical symptoms. Your doctor may be the one who can identify your symptoms as those related to depression. While depression in itself can be a chronic illness, feelings of depression related to your condition are usually sparked by your situation and can most likely be tamed, without becoming a longstanding issue.

Depression Triggers to Look For

Having a chronic illness can create the need for significant changes in your life. It may limit your ability to do all of the things that were possible for you before the illness arose. It can challenge your independence by preventing you from doing certain things without assistance. Even the stress and worry of managing your illness can take its toll on your mental health and general well-being.

Thinking about any of these life-changing situations can trigger a bout of depression, bringing on despair and sadness and diminishing your self-confidence in the process. Even the effects of medication that you now require daily, can change the way you can live your life. A longing for the days before your illness took over and a persistent “Why me?” state of mind, can also be indicators of depression.

They assume that feeling sad is normal for someone struggling with disease. Symptoms of depression are also often masked by other medical problems. The symptoms get treated, but not the underlying depression. When you have both a chronic illness and depression, you need to treat both at the same time.

Treating Depression

Getting treatment for depression is basically the same for those with a chronic illness as for those who are depressed for other reasons. And often, getting treatment for depression can help you manage your condition more easily, making it more likely that you will be able to stick a new life regimen. Many times, depression treatment can improve your overall medical condition, giving you a better quality of life, and a greater likelihood of sticking to a long-term treatment plan.

Learning as much as you can about depression will give you a stronger hold over your situation as you will be able to identify which feelings are contributing to your depression. And while many find relief by taking anti-depressant medication, it is not always the answer. Sometimes it just takes a little soul-searching and effort to improve your sense of self-esteem. When your self-esteem is in a good place, you generally are, too.

Letting feelings of sadness build up inside you can contribute to a succession of sad days, just as improving your outlook on the world can lead to a succession of happier days. Being able to recognize that what you’re feeling is depression and getting treatment right away is the best way to send those feelings packing, before they take hold of you.

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