Over the years, much research has been done on arthritis and its effects on people's lives. Scientific studies have shown that about 50% of all patients with arthritis suffer from some form of mental illness such as depression or anxiety. This means that one in every two arthritis sufferers will experience symptoms of depression or anxiety at least once during their lifetime. It also shows how much these illnesses affect our daily life.
How do Depression and Anxiety affect Arthritis?
The link between arthritis, anxiety, and depression can be explained by several factors, including; pain, fatigue, sleep problems, loss of mobility, social isolation, and financial difficulties. These are just a few examples of what happens when you get arthritis. Many other things happen, but our focus will be on the most common one: pain, as there is a biological link between it and these mental conditions.
Pain and Depression/Anxiety
There's clear evidence that chronic pain causes depression and vice versa.
Pain causes depression/anxiety:
Painful joints cause inflammation which leads to swelling and stiffness. The more painful your joint becomes, the worse your mood gets. A hormone called serotonin plays an essential role in regulating emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc. Serotonin levels decrease due to increased inflammation caused by pain. When this occurs, we feel depressed. In addition, if you feel depressed, then this makes your body react differently than usual. For example, you may not want to exercise because you don't think you'll enjoy yourself anymore. You might even stop doing everything else too! All of these changes make you less active and therefore increase your chances of getting Arthritis again.
Depression/anxiety causes pain:
When someone suffers from depression, they tend to isolate themselves from others because they don't want anyone to see them sad. They may even stop doing activities they enjoy so that no one sees them being unhappy. As a result, they become inactive and lose muscle mass. Muscle tissue helps us move around and do everyday tasks. If you're unable to use your muscles properly, you won't carry out normal day-to-day activities. So, if you've got arthritis, you could end up feeling very tired, weak, and with lots of pain. Your immune system isn't working well either. That means you're more likely to catch infections that could further increase pain.
Treatments for Depression and anxiety
If you're suffering from depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor first before trying any treatment options. They will give you advice based on your medical history and current condition. Some treatments work better than others, depending on who takes them.
- Psychological treatments
These include antidepressants, sleeping pills, antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs. However, using medication alone doesn't always help. Sometimes, talking therapies can be helpful too.
Some medications used to treat depression and anxiety include fluoxetine and paroxetine. Other types of antidepressants include amitriptyline, imipramine, and nortriptyline. Antianxiety medications such as benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants also exist.
Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of both depression and anxiety. It improves overall health and reduces stress hormones. This means that exercising regularly can improve your mood. Try walking every morning after breakfast. Or take part in other forms of moderate aerobic exercise at least three times per week.
Why it is Important to be Diagnosed
Diagnosing depression and anxiety early allows doctors to provide effective treatment. Early diagnosis gives patients time to recover fully without having to deal with long-term effects. It also helps prevent complications associated with untreated conditions.
Also, when you have a chronic illness like arthritis, it's essential to get regular checkups done. These tests allow doctors to monitor your progress and keep track of what works best for you. In case there's something wrong, they can quickly identify it and start treating it right away.
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases affecting adults today. According to the American College of Rheumatology, over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis. While many people experience only mild discomfort, others develop severe problems, including debilitating pain, which may cause depression, and the depression further worsens pain. Fortunately, research shows that proper management of these conditions can significantly alleviate their impact on daily life.