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ARTHRITIS & DEPRESSION - What is link between Depression & Arthritis
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What is the link betweenn depression and arthritis?

Up to two thirds of people with arthritis say their condition has affected them emotionally.

Many people with arthritis are frightened by the impact arthritis might have on their everyday life and their future. People living with persistent pain are four times more likely to experience depression or anxiety thapeople living without pain.

Having arthritis can result in a loss of independence, self esteem, the ability to work and
continue social or recreational activities. These losses are risk factors for experiencing

Living with arthritis can place stress on relationships. Pain and tiredness may make
connecting with family members and friends seem like an effort. Intimate relationships
can also be affected.

It is not unusual for younger people to feel especially angry or depressed at being
diagnosed with a disease that is mistakenly thought to affect only ‘old' people.

Depression can make it hard for people to manage their arthritis effectively if they can't
find the energy to exercise, take medication regularly, keep appointments and eat

beyondblue: the national depression initiative and Arthritis Australia have developed this
fact sheet to raise awareness of the risks and impact of depression in people with

What treatments are the re for depression and arthritis?

There are effective treatments for both depression and arthritis.
A co-ordinated approach to treatment can have benefits for both conditions.
For example, people with arthritis and mild depression may find that regular physical
activity improves depressed moods and also helps control joint pain and stiffness.
More severe types of depression may require different types of treatment, including:

• medication to relieve the symptoms of depression

• Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to learn to identify and change negative thought

• Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) to assist with the acceptance of having arthritis and the
need for long-term treatment. This can also help improve relationships with family and

An important part of managing depression and arthritis is seeing a doctor regularly to
check that treatments are working effectively.

What can you do to help yourself?

If you think you might have depression:

• seek help as early as possible from a doctor or other health professional (for example,
psychiatrist or psychologist)

• get involved in social activities

• do some regular exercise

• learn about depression and arthritis

• eat healthily and include a wide variety of nutritious foods

• achieve and maintain a healthy weight

• limit alcohol intake

• get help and support from family and friends.

Things to remember

• Depression and arthritis are both common and treatable.

• With the right treatment, most people recover from depression.

• Seek help early - the sooner the better.

• Depression is an illness, not a weakness, and people shouldn't dismiss Counsellingto
attend to depression.


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