If you have a chronic condition, it’s important to stay on top of your physical symptoms. But it’s also important to monitor how you’re feeling emotionally. That’s because people with a chronic disease, like diabetes, COPD, or heart disease, are at a higher risk of depression.
It’s not hard to see why chronic illness can trigger depression. If your condition impacts your ability to do the things you enjoy, limits your mobility, or makes you feel less independent, that can impact your mood and sense of hope for the future. On top of that, the side effects of the medication you’re likely taking for your condition can lead to depression.
Depression can intensify pain and also make you feel sluggish and more tired. If you’re feeling depressed, you’re less likely to take steps to improve your emotional health, such as exercising and spending time with friends.
Symptoms differ from one person to another but they include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness.
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless.
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
- Loss of interest in sex.
- Feeling tired.
- Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Trouble sleeping, waking up too early, or oversleeping.
- Eating more or less than usual.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Thoughts of death or suicide with or without suicide attempts.
- Restlessness or irritability.
If you have any of these symptoms or are feeling down, talk to your doctor. Major depression requires professional treatment to get better, just like a physical condition. There is treatment that can make you feel better and improve your outlook. Don’t wait for things to get better by themselves. It’s just as important to treat depression as it is your physical condition.