Having any kind of arthritis can negatively affect one’s mental wellbeing. Most often, this manifests as anxiety or depression, but it also works vice versa. That is to say, mental health issues can also worsen arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is among the types of arthritis. RA and depression often happens at the same time. That is known, but because those who have RA are not usually examined for depression, it is unlikely to be diagnosed. Studies reveal that when depression that occurs with it is unaddressed, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment cannot be all that effective.
Typical characteristics of depression include sadness, weight gain or loss, insomnia, inability to focus, feelings of too much guilt or worthlessness, and recurrent suicidal thoughts. It is not clear whether anxiety and depression in those who have RA occur due to the systematic and chronic swelling or physical symptoms.
Researchers feel that those who were depressed before having RA may not be all that responsive to the treatment for the latter condition. We need more research to find out the exact link between depression and every kind of arthritis. When left not treated, depression in those who have RA may lead to the following issues.
- More pain
- Greater possibility of heart disease and attacks
- Increased possibility of economic adversity
- Loss of work productivity
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weaken relationships with loved ones
Among many other factors, depression also influences the levels of pain which the rheumatoid arthritis patient feel. At its worst form, depression itself is a painful thing to experience. Some depressed people also tend to feel physical pain, in addition to the emotional ordeal they go through.
Those who have RA and depression simultaneously, respond in a better way to treatment in the event each condition is addressed. The doctor may prescribe different medications for each one, but several activities can help address the emotional and physical consequences of both, such as the following.
- Stress management methods
- Regular exercise
- Support groups and friends who know about the challenges which both conditions pose.
Individuals with arthritis disease are at great risk of developing anxiety and/or depression. When you are diagnosed with RA and feeling bothered about developing depression or are depressed, you must consult with your doctor. A personalized action plan, support and medication can help treat both conditions.