Depression and Chronic Illness: Which Comes First?
When Illness Triggers Depression
When Depression Leads to Illness
The Diagnosis Dilemma
Depression's Devastating Effects
- Diabetes—Depressed people with diabetes may not take their medications as diligently. This will lead to more problems controlling their blood sugar, which in turn leaves them more susceptible to serious complications.
- Heart disease—People with heart disease who are also depressed might stop paying as much attention to their diets, thereby putting themselves at greater risk for heart attacks. People with heart disease that suffer from depression during the early days of their recoveries are more likely to die within a year of their attack than people who do not get depressed.
- Asthma—A psychological study of people with asthma showed that those who recorded more mental signs of depression, like feelings of helplessness or worthlessness, also suffered more from their asthma.
Treatment for Depression
Symptoms of Depression
- Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Loss of interest in sex
- Feeling tired
- Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Trouble sleeping, waking up too early, or oversleeping
- Eating more or less than usual
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide with or without suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Physical symptoms that defy standard diagnosis and do not respond well to medical treatments
American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org
Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net
Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org
Canadian Psychological Association http://www.cpa.ca
Chronic illness and depression fact sheet. National Alliance on Mental Illness website. Available at: http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental%5FIllnesses/Depression/Depression%5Fand%5FChronic%5FIllness%5FFact%5FSheet.htm. Updated October 2009. Accessed November 27, 2013.
Co-occurring disorders and depression. National Mental Health Association website. Available at: http://www.nmha.org/conditions/co-occurring-disorders-and-depression. Accessed November 27, 2013.
Depression. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 31, 2013. Accessed November 27, 2013.
Depression and cancer. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-and-cancer/index.shtml. Accessed November 27, 2013.
Detre KM. Coronary bypass surgery improves heart attack survival in people with diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:33-43.
Mancuso CA, Peterson MG, Charlson ME. Effects of depressive symptoms on health-related quality of life in asthma patients. J Gen Intern Med. 2000;15:301-310.
Pratt LA, Ford DE, Crum RM, et al. Depression, psychotropic medication, and risk of myocardial infarction. Prospective data from the Baltimore ECA follow-up. Circulation. 1996;94:3124-9.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013 -
- Update Date: 11/27/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing
All rights reserved.