Dragged down by chronic illness JANINE SHAMOS May 20 2011 00:00 Weekly Mail
Millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with chronic illnesses every year -- conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, lupus and multiple sclerosis, which can last for a long time, and, although they can be controlled, they may not be cured completely. Chronic illnesses change your life and involve not only cost but also lifestyle changes that are often hard to accept.
For many people diagnosed with a chronic illness, depression is a reality. In fact, it is estimated that up to one-third of people with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression. Depression can also aggravate the diagnosed condition but depression can be treated -- and it should be.
It is not hard to understand the relationship between chronic illness and depression. "When were young, we take our health for granted," says Johannesburg-based psychologist Colinda Linde. "Chronic illness means getting sick and being told its not going away. We lose control of the thing we thought we could rely on and thats really scary."
Serious illnesses may cause immense changes in lifestyle and limit a persons mobility and independence, making it impossible to do the things he or she wants or used to do. This can undermine self-confidence and hope. "Its not surprising that people who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness often experience despair, sadness and anger," says Linde.
The risk of depression increases with the severity of the illness and the level of disruption it causes to the patient. Although 10% to 25% of women and 5% to 12% of men are generally at risk of depression, those with chronic illnesses face a much higher risk -- between 25% to 33%. Research shows that 40% to 65% of heart-attack patients, 40% of Parkinsons patients, 25% of cancer patients and 30% to 54% of patients with chronic pain syndrome develop depression.
In people with chronic illnesses the symptoms of depression are often overlooked by both the patients and their loved ones, because they assume that feeling sad is normal for someone struggling with a chronic disease. In addition, symptoms of depression are often masked by other medical problems that are symptomatically treated, yet the underlying depression is not.
Depression can aggravate the chronic condition. It can intensify pain and fatigue and cause people to isolate themselves even further. The treatment of depression in people with chronic illness is similar to treating depression in other people.
"Early diagnosis and treatment is important to reduce the distress people feel and to help them adjust to their diagnosis," says Cassey Chambers of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG ). "Treatment of depression can also help improve the persons overall health and make it more likely that they comply with their treatment regime," says Cassey.
SADAG s helplines get many calls from patients who feel depressed as the result of a diagnosis or medical treatment. "Medication side effects can sometimes cause depressive symptoms, in which case they may need to be adjusted or changed," says Linde.
CONTINUES BELOW Ad frame Click here test
Depression, disability and chronic illness form a vicious cycle: chronic conditions may bring on bouts of depression, which in turn interfere with the successful treatment of the chronic illness. But more than 80% of people with depression are treated successfully with medication, or psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
Living with a chronic illness is an enormous challenge. Periods of grief and sadness are to be expected. Your diagnosis, the loss of your health, changes in appearance, mobility or independence, pain and fatigue, the illness itself or the medication youre on as well as the social pressure to appear OK can all trigger grief and depression. "Its not necessarily depression if youre adjusting to a major loss [such as the] diagnosis of a chronic illness. Grief needs time to be processed. Allow yourself that time to mourn, to be angry and sad about what youve lost," says Linde. If the depressive feelings persist, or you find that youve lost interest in things you used to enjoy, its important to seek help.
Depression makes people feel exhausted, worthless and hopeless. With treatment, negative thinking fades. Take time to accept your new reality. If you dont, grief morphs into depression and that can make physical illness even worse.
For more information contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group helpline: 011 262 6396 or go to www.SADAG .org
IN THE WORKPLACE
New Research on Depression in the Workplace.
For more information please click here
To subscribe to SADAG's newsletter, click here
Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's
Click here for more info on articles & how to subscribe
Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. We depend on written communication for information, guidance, and access to heath care information That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way information is delivered to low literacy communities. It's exactly what it sounds like.a book that talks to the reader in his or her local language, delivering critical information in an interactive, and educational way.
The customizable 16-page book, accompanied by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood..
We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 30 titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 30 countries.
- Click here to see speaking books in action
- Click here for sample book on clinical trials
- Click here for latest press release 1.
- Click here for latest press release 2.
- Click here to connect to international site www.booksofhope.com
- Speaking books for Health Care YouTube
Chronic Illness and Depression
Dragged down by chronic illness JANINE SHAMOS May 20 2011 00:00 Weekly Mail
Dr Reddy's Help Line
0800 21 22 23
Pharmadynamics Police &Trauma Line
0800 20 50 26
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90
Destiny Helpline for Youth & Students
0800 41 42 43
0800 55 44 33
Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline
0800 12 13 14
Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567
SADAG Mental Health Line
011 234 4837
Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 Hour
0861 435 787
MENTAL HEALTH CALENDAR 2018
Teen Suicide Prevention Week
11 - 18 February
Bipolar Awareness Day
Substance Abuse Awareness Day
Mental Health Awareness Month
1 – 31 July
Panic Awareness Day
World Suicide Prevention Day
World Mental Health Day
View our list of informative Infographs.
SADAG KZN Branch
SADAG have launched a new office in Durban with the support of Psychiatrist Dr Suvira Ramlall and Clinical Psychologist, Suntosh Pillay.
The offices are placed in St Joseph’s Hospital and are managed by Lyn Norton.
The KZN Branch is deeply committed to;
- Launching new Support Groups
- Workshops on aspects of Mental Health
- School Talks on Suicide Prevention
- Corporate Wellness For KZN companies
Please click here for more information about the KZN activities.
Want to become a volunteer counsellor? Contact Michelle/Christine 0800 21 22 23
Download Application Form Here
If you are interested in starting a Support Group, please contact Michelle on 0800 21 22 23.
To find a Support Group in your area, please phone SADAG on 0800 21 22 23.
If you are a journalist writing a story contact Cassey on
011 234 4837 /firstname.lastname@example.org