10 Diseases That Make Depression Feel Worse


15_patient_doctor_with_smiling_patientConsider these statistics:

  • Nearly 50 percent of asthma patients suffer from symptoms of depression.
  • At least 40 percent of persons with Parkinson’s disease experience depression, and anxiety is often reported.
  • Forty to 65 percent of patients who have had a heart attack suffer from depression.
  • The lifetime risk for depression in patients with multiple sclerosis is 40 to 60 percent.
  • Nearly 30 percent of stroke patients develop depression.

A 2009 study published in Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics confirms that “when pain is severe, impairs function, and/or is refractory to treatment, it is associated with more depressive symptoms and worse depression outcomes. Similarly, depression in patients with pain is associated with more complaints and greater functional impairment.” The study goes on to explain that there is growing evidence that “depression and pain share genetic factors, biological pathways and neurotransmitters. Thus, the most promising area of future research is elucidating the neurobiological alterations in pain pathways that intersect with those involved in depression.”

This is important to know since, according to research published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the number of people with chronic illnesses will increase 37 percent between 2000 and 2030, an increase of 46 million people. That means those of us who are predisposed to depressive episodes to begin with would be wise to familiarize ourselves with those illnesses that are most often associated with depression and can exacerbate our symptoms. The following ten are a good start.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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