All posts related to "depression"

Today is World Mental Health Day! Did you know that 1/3 of people with arthritis have anxiety or depression?

Positive Mental Health infographicPositive mental health is the capacity of people to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance the ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges, such as living with arthritis. Having a strong social support network can help. Continue reading below to learn the relationship between depression and arthritis and ways to help avoid and alleviate depression.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 54.4 million (22.7%) adults in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis – approximately one-third of them report having anxiety or depression, with anxiety more common than depression.

According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, in adults with arthritis, the prevalence of anxiety is 22.5% and the prevalence of depression is 12.1%. This estimates to about two-thirds higher than those living without arthritis or 10.3 million arthritis patients with symptoms of anxiety or depression – 4.9 million had anxiety only, 1.3 million had depression only, and 4.1 million had symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

The survey also found that anxiety and depression were more common for people who: Continue reading

National Relaxation Day: Tips to manage stress from arthritis

Arthritis affects people of all ages and can cause stress, and in more serious cases, depression and anxiety. Pain researchers are discovering how emotions, thoughts, and behaviours can influence the level of pain someone experiences and how well they adjust to it. For instance, how an individual responds to stress can predict how well they will recover from hip replacement surgery. Even how a patient feels about whether their coping strategies are working, or not, can affect their experience of the pain itself. Other factors that can influence how well you manage with your disease are whether you feel helpless, tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your pain, whether you decide to accept your pain and carry on in spite of it, and how well you handle stress. Arthritis Broadcast Network believes people living with arthritis deserve extra relaxation on National Relaxation Day and hope that the following tips will help you relax!

Breathing

Rhythmic breathing and deep breathing can help release tension from everyday life. The former involves inhaling and exhaling slowly while counting to five; the latter can be accomplished by filling your abdomen with air, like inflating and deflating a balloon.

Exercise 

Image of someone cycling on the shared bike pathwayHarvard Health summarizes the benefits of exercise as follows: Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts — or, at least, the hot shower after your exercise is over. Continue reading

Tips to manage or reduce mental stress associated with your arthritis

According to the “Psychological well-being among US adults with arthritis and the unmet need for mental health care” published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the prevalence of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and serious psychological distress (SPD; a nonspecific indicator of mental health problems) is higher among adults with arthritis compared to the general population.

The study finds that in individuals with arthritis, mental health issues interact with other health conditions and symptoms of arthritis (e.g., pain, fatigue, and disability) such that a decline in one area can directly or indirectly affect the others. Mental health issues can increase the severity of disability, interfere with disease management, and increase disease severity and mortality. Providing mental health support for arthritis patients can improve their overall wellbeing. It has been documented that treating depression can improve medication adherence, and improve both psychological and physical outcomes for patients.

An important strategy for reducing the pain of arthritis is treating your depression. Two approaches can be used, non-pharmacological and pharmacological, together or individually.

Separate from improving mood, antidepressants have been shown to reduce pain in many different chronic conditions, including arthritis, and they work even when depression is not a factor. How these drugs work to reduce pain is not fully understood, but may have to do with improving sleep, relaxing muscles, or increasing neurotransmitters in the spinal cord that are responsible for lessening pain signals.

Couple on a beach with grassy foreground to represent mental illnessPlease consult your doctor to discuss your treatment options.

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It’s not your fault you are depressed…YOU are not making your RA worse

Woman with text It's not your fault you are depressedPeople living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are twice as likely as the rest of the population to feel depressed. An important thing to understand is that it is NOT your fault you are depressed, therefore, YOU are not making your RA worse. It is natural to feel anxious or sad as a result of the diagnosis and to be depressed as a symptom of the disease. Instead, realise that it just demonstrates that rheumatoid arthritis is a complex condition that may require multiple levels of treatment; and, that an important strategy for reducing the pain of arthritis is treating your depression. Two approaches can be used, non-pharmacological and pharmacological, together or individually.

Separate from improving mood, antidepressants have been shown to reduce pain in many different chronic conditions, including arthritis, and they work even when depression is not a factor. How these drugs work to reduce pain is not fully understood, but may have to do with improving sleep, relaxing muscles, or increasing neurotransmitters in the spinal cord that are responsible for lessening pain signals.

Please consult your doctor to discuss your treatment options.

There are many strategies you can try, which you may find useful for helping you to avoid or alleviate depression without using drugs. No matter what suggestions you decide will work best for you, we recommend you speak with your doctor or therapist before getting started: Continue reading

Chronic diseases decrease social participation in middle-age population

Three girls in front of a blue backgroundA recent study from McMaster University found that middle-aged adults living with a combination of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and/or depression are more likely to experience disability and limited involvement in society.

The research was conducted by Lauren Griffith, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatics and the McLaughlin Foundation Professorship in Population and Public Health. Researchers from McMaster University published the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community HealthThey found that physical and mental chronic diseases, alone or in combination, were associated with disability and reduced social participation. The results differed by gender and age. Continue reading

EULAR: Updated recommendations for fibromyalgia

A woman deep in thought in the shadowThe European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has published updated recommendations on the management of fibromyalgia. The detailed recommendations can be found in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized primarily by chronic widespread pain (CWP) in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and a heightened sensitivity to touch resulting in pain that can last for months.

Common signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include: Continue reading

Increased risk of attempted suicide in patients with arthritis

Two people sitting with backs to each otherA new study from the University of Toronto found that people living with arthritis are 46 percent more likely to attempt suicide than those living without arthritis.

In the study, researchers looked at factors associated with ever having attempted suicide in a sample of 4,885 patients with arthritis across Canada and 16,859 patients without arthritis. All the data were collected from the 2012 Canadian Health Survey-Mental Health. The research found that: Continue reading

Ways to help your loved one live with RA and depression

Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the chances of depression; depression may worsen RA symptoms, leading to higher disease activity and disability, which in turn can lead to depression. Several studies have indicated that depression in those with rheumatoid arthritis is linked to greater joint pain and other symptoms of RA such as fatigue and sleep disturbances, decreased immune function, and a higher mortality rate. Untreated depression may cause you to be less likely to take care of yourself, less motivated to stick to a treatment plan, more likely to isolate yourself from friends and family and avoid activities you once enjoyed.

It is estimated that people living with RA are twice as likely to suffer from depression. Research shows that approximately 13 to 20 percent of the population currently living with RA are already depressed. A study published in the Rheumatology medical journal states that women living with RA are almost twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and commit suicide.

“Many people with suicidal thoughts brought on by chronic illness will not come out right and say what they are thinking,” said Thea Barrieau, a SeniorBridge Care Manager. If you are concerned that someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, look out for the following suicidal warning signs and seek help from a medical professional:

  • Gathering friends and family “one last time” or “to say goodbye”.
  • Verbal or physical signs that allude to an inability to “cope” with the chronic illness, giving up, or a lack of motivation to do everyday and new tasks.
  • Skipping medication dosages or trying a new medication regimen.

It’s not your fault you are depressed

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Link between rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease explained

Woman covering face with hands

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

According to a new study, mental health problems like anxiety and depression may explain why people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the study, anger, anxiety, depressive symptoms, job stress and low social support was linked to increasing risk of hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis for people with RA.

In the study, Dr. Jon T. Giles of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and team compared 195 patients with RA and no history of heart problems to more than 1,000 similar adults without arthritis. Study participants with RA had more depressive symptoms, higher personal (such as caring for a loved one) and health stress, higher job stress and lower relationship stress. These listed psychosocial problems, on top of higher anxiety scores and anger scores, were associated with increased odds of coronary artery calcium. Furthermore, job stress increased the risk of plaque in the carotid artery in the neck, which helps supply blood to the brain. In the comparison group, there was no relation between the aforementioned psychosocial factors and artery calcium. Continue reading

The glass is half full for these study participants

2 girls on smartphone

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine suggests that positive attitude is linked to fewer rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms. In the study, the RA patients who reported more positive mood moments during the day had less pain and fewer arthritis-related complications than those who reported greater depressive symptoms. This is the first study to measure mood throughout the day (previous studies linked end-of-day mood to increased/decreased pain among arthritis patients).

People living with RA are twice as likely as the rest of the population to experience depression. There are several reasons depression occurs in people with RA. Sometimes it starts from the shock of diagnosis and finding out that it is an unpredictable disease that can become more painful and debilitating over time. Sometimes depression occurs because of feeling tired and unwell or isolated as a result of the disease. RA can affect the ability to work, look after family, and engage in social activities and interests. The stress that results from either of these situations can trigger depression in those who are predisposed by heredity or other factors. Click here to learn more about depression and arthritis. Continue reading