Depression, Anxiety, and Physical Health Problems
- Have Reference diabetes Opens New Window and also feel very sad.
- Be depressed and notice that your physical health is getting worse. Perhaps your Reference blood pressure Opens New Window is going up.
- Have Reference asthma Opens New Window, feel very Reference anxious Opens New Window, and sometimes have Reference panic attacks Opens New Window.
People who have chronic diseases such as Reference arthritis Opens New Window, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Reference hepatitis C Opens New Window, and Reference stroke Opens New Window often also have depression. Depression also often occurs with Reference chronic pain Opens New Window. Depression may occur with these problems because:
- The everyday stress of dealing with a chronic disease causes the depression or makes it worse.
- People who have depression often find it hard to take care of their health, which can lead to health problems.Reference 1
- People who have depression tend to eat poorly, get less exercise, and smoke.
- Some chronic diseases change your body chemistry and help cause depression. Reference Cushing's syndrome Opens New Window and an underactive thyroid (Reference hypothyroidism Opens New Window) are examples of this.
- Depression is linked with some chronic diseases. For example, depression makes coronary artery disease (CAD) and death from heart disease more likely.Reference 1 Also, people with diabetes are more likely to get depression and people with depression are more likely to develop diabetes.Reference 2
If you treat depression, it can improve your health and quality of life.
Here are some things you can do to help yourself.
- Know the Reference symptoms of depression so that you can get treatment. Talk to your doctor, or take this Reference short quiz Reference to check your symptoms.
- Ask your doctors about the Reference medicines you're taking. Some medicines may cause depression, and medicines you take for depression may make other health problems worse.
- Reference Read all about depression.
Here are tools to help a friend or family member who may be depressed:
- Reference Reference Depression: Helping Someone Get Treatment
- Reference Reference Depression: Supporting Someone Who Is Depressed
Anxiety and health problems also are linked. You may feel anxious because you have a health problem, and anxiety can make a health problem worse. For example, older men who have an anxiety disorder are more likely to have a heart attack.Reference 3
To help yourself:
- Know the symptoms of Reference anxiety Opens New Window, such as feeling that you can't relax. If you often feel anxious, see your doctor or a Reference counselor Opens New Window.
- Reduce anxiety by Reference getting regular exercise, doing Reference relaxation techniques, and lowering stress in your life. See the topics Reference Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Reference Panic Attacks and Panic Disorders.
For anxiety and depression, you can:
- Reference Work closely with all your doctors and tell them about all your health problems. Your family and other medical doctors need to know you are depressed, and any counselor you talk to needs to know about your physical health problems.
- Join a Reference support group for depression, anxiety, or the chronic disease you have. You can find support in seminars and groups led by professionals, in groups of others who have the same condition, and in your relationships with family and friends.
- Eat a balanced diet, and get regular exercise.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs. They can make depression and anxiety worse.
Many people have concerns about seeking treatment for a mental health problem. You may think it's a sign of weakness, or you don't want people to know about it. It's important to Reference overcome these reasons for not seeking treatment. Treating depression or anxiety is good for your health.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 12, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry