People with chronic disease are more prone to depression than others. Holistic management of depression works well for patients with chronic disease.
It has been observed that people with chronic diseases are more likely to become depressed than the general population.
Why do we get depressed if we have a serious illness or a chronic disease? A chronic or a serious illness can make us feel sad, frightened, or angry and we may start having negative thoughts concerning ourselves and others. Again, being ill and having treatment may stress us out and stress is believed to be the most common reason for depression.
Sometimes, drug interventions such as steroids or chronic diseases such as caused by an under-active thyroid affect the way our brain functions. This too could lead to depression. It is also possible that we may happen by chance to become depressed at the same time as we get the chronic disease.
Now that you know why you are depressed if you have chronic disease, the next step would be to treat or manage depression holistically. Holistic management of depression would be more suitable because anti-depressants may not be a very good idea. They are known to have some side effects and they may interfere with any treatments that you are taking for your physical illness. Always consult your doctor before starting on any new medication or therapy.
There are a number of ways you can manage depression holistically if you suffer from chronic disease as well. Share your fears
and concerns with your family and friends close to you. You may find yourself relieved to talk and unburden yourself. But if you find it difficult, seek the help of a psychotherapist. Cognitive behavior therapy has a lot of potential in treating depression. For example, a study found improvements in both disability and fatigue with a CBT intervention for depression in patients with multiple sclerosis. Similarly, CBT is also used to treat other chronic health conditions such as arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome. It may not cure physical symptoms of the condition but can help with emotional aspects of the disorder by helping you to cope better.
Try to eat a balanced diet
. Poor and imbalanced nutrition can make your physical health worse. Balanced diet is good for depression too. A diet rich in anti-oxidants helps reduce symptoms of depression as well as benefits the chronic condition. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggested that regular consumption of tea, that is, more than 100g of dried tea leaves per month, can prevent onset of depression among breast cancer survivors.
Make sure you incorporate pleasurable activities and physical exercise
in your daily routine. Physical exercise need not be of strenuous type – yoga and even simple walking is a good physical exercise that can help both, the depression as well as your chronic condition. The above study also found that women with higher physical exercise level (equal to or greater than 83 metabolic equivalent (MET) score hours per week) were less likely to have depression as compared to the non-exercisers. However, consult your doctor before you start on any exercise regime.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol
. Alcohol can make depression worse and it may interfere with your chronic disease medication. Although a little alcohol is good for your heart, excessive drinking can lead to major depressive episodes as well as make your heart disease worse.
It’s bad for your chronic condition and its worse for your depression. Studies have shown that smoking ten or more cigarettes per day is associated with major depressive episodes.
Your chronic condition may not let you sleep
properly. Try not to worry about it. Worrying can make your depression worse and increase sleeplessness further. Try relaxation techniques to get better sleep.