Athritis and Mental Health: What You Need To Know

Athritis and Mental Health: What You Need To Know

Depression is defined according to the American Psychological Association as:

  • Anxiety is characterized by feelings of tension, worry and irritability along with physical changes like increased blood pressure.
  • Depression is characterized by sadness, a lack of interest in daily activities, weight loss or gain, sleeplessness or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Let us examine the link between mental health and arthritis can help to better understand the disease and how to manage it effectively.

The occurrence of depression and anxiety in individuals with arthritis-related conditions ranges depending on the population size, the scale of the research, and the instruments used for assessment. However, research has indicated that the rates tend to be between two and ten times more than the rates of the overall population, depending on the form of arthritis.

Can Athritis Cause Depression?

The two conditions of pain and depression can often be linked together. People who suffer from chronic pain are at risk of developing depression, and those who are already suffering from depression may experience more severe physical pain.

Research has established that those with more severe cases of arthritis are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. It is unknown why pain intensifies the risk of psychological problems; however, it is apparent that the two conditions are linked.

How Depression Affects Your Daily Life

The pain and fatigue associated with arthritis can be debilitating, and they are compounded by co-occurring conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. This can lead to a complete change in lifestyle, with reduced exercise, social interaction, and quality of sleep, all of which can worsen pain and cause depression.

The root cause of depression in those with arthritis may vary, but it is an important factor to consider when striving for a fulfilling life. For this reason, it is essential to treat arthritis in addition to any related anxiety or depression.

How to Reduce Athritis Symptoms

Connect with your community

Discovering a community of individuals who share your experiences and suffer from similar recurring discomfort can be highly affirming, motivating, and empowering.

It not only acts as a reassurance that others are also endeavoring to combat comparable health complications, but it can also broaden your outlook and abilities in coping with persistent pain. Furthermore, being a member of a persistent pain community enables you to exchange information, understandings, and suggestions. See our community resource page for more info.

Healthy Eating

It may come as a surprise to some, but our diet can have a significant impact on chronic inflammation. This is due to the chemicals released by digestive bacteria, which can either increase or decrease inflammation. The types of bacteria and their byproducts are influenced by the foods we consume, with some promoting inflammation and others suppressing it.

Consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds have been linked to reduced inflammation and a lowered risk of chronic diseases due to their high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Beverages such as coffee and cocoa are also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties due to their polyphenols and flavonols.

Movement of the Body

For those suffering from chronic inflammation, it is crucial to engage in physical activity as it can alleviate pain, enhance joint mobility, and promote energy levels. Additionally, regular exercise can strengthen the joints, reduce the risk of falls and injuries, and improve overall joint health. This is because movement stimulates the production of synovial fluid in the joints, which acts as a lubricant, allowing for smoother movement. Moreover, exercise improves blood flow to the joints, providing them with essential nutrients and oxygen. 

Start wherever you maybe, simple walking or any movement available to you at the moment. Small efforts add up and feel good about taking small steps towards feeling better.

You are not alone, please see our community resources page for a wealth of information to find support.