People who have chronic diseases such as
arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease,
hepatitis C, and
stroke often also have depression. Depression also
often occurs with
chronic pain. Depression may occur with these problems
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.1
People who have depression tend to eat poorly, get less exercise,
Some chronic diseases change your body chemistry and help cause
Cushing's syndrome and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) 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.1 Also, people with diabetes are more
likely to get depression and people with depression are more likely to develop
If you treat depression, it can improve your health and quality of life.
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.3
Know the symptoms of
anxiety, such as feeling that you can't relax. If you
often feel anxious, see your doctor or a
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.
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
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
overcome these reasons for not seeking treatment.
Treating depression or anxiety is good for your health.
Katon WJ (2003). Clinical and health services
relationships between major depression, depressive symptoms, and general
medical illness. Biological Psychiatry, 54(3):
Golden SH, et al. (2008). Examining a bidirectional
association between depressive symptoms and diabetes. JAMA, 299(23): 2751–2759.
Shen B-J, et al. (2008). Anxiety characteristics
independently and prospectively predict myocardial infarction in men.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 51(2):
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.