Depression with Other Health Conditions
Is depression common among people with other health problems?
Yes, people with the following medical conditions often have depression, too:
- Heart or Lung Disease
- Longstanding pain such as Arthritis or Injury
Does having a medical condition make people depressed or the other way around?
There is no right answer. We know for certain that certain medical conditions increase the risk of depression. We also know that those that are depressed are more likely than others to develop certain medical conditions. Sometimes there can be a vicious circle, for example when pain causes low mood and low mood increases the perception of pain, as can happen in injuries.
Having depression makes it hard for people to do the things they need to do to manage their medical conditions. For example, depression can make it hard to:
- Remember to take your medicines or go to your doctor appointments
- Do physical activities or stay active, which is often recommended for better health and to overcome depression
How do I know if I am depressed?
Depressed people feel down most of the time for at least 2 weeks. They also have at least 1 of these 2 symptoms:
- They no longer enjoy or care about doing the things they used to like to do.
- They feel sad, down, hopeless, or cranky most of the day, almost every day.
Depression can also make you:
- Lose or gain weight
- Sleep too much or too little
- Feel tired or like you have no energy
- Feel guilty or like you are worth nothing
- Forget things or feel confused
- Feel hopeless and think about death or suicide
If you think you might be depressed, see your doctor. Only someone trained in mental health can tell if you are depressed.
What can I do if I have depression and another medical problem?
For starters, do not assume that being depressed is a normal part of being sick. It’s normal to be sad sometimes when you are sick, but depression is more serious and long-lasting than that. If you think you are depressed, mention it to your doctor, and discuss options of treatment.
Also, make sure that all your doctors know about all your health problems, including your depression. That way, they know to keep all of those problems in mind when choosing treatment for you. If you have heart disease and need medicines for depression, for example, the doctor treating your depression will need to choose depression medicines that are safe for people with heart disease.
Finally, if you are having a hard time dealing with your medical problem or depression, think about joining a support group for people with the same illness.
Being part of such a group can help you feel less alone. Plus, it can help you learn skills from other people who have been through what you are going through.