Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are incredibly common, even though not everyone who experiences symptoms seeks treatment. Among people who have arthritis, mental health disorders are even more common than among the general population.
At Health Solutions in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Olympia Fields, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana, our expert providers offer treatment for various forms of arthritis as well as for mental health issues. If you have arthritis and you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, we may be able to help you understand and find a treatment that works for you.
Arthritis: more than one condition
There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, from the most common, which is osteoarthritis, to conditions that many don’t even realize are forms of arthritis, like lupus. Almost 25% of American adults have some form of arthritis.
Incidences of anxiety and depression are higher among people with any type of arthritis than among people who don’t have arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of Americans will have a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives, and one in five experience mental illness in any given year.
Some symptoms of anxiety and depression include:
- An overwhelming sense of emptiness or hopelessness
- Muscle tension, raised heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
- Problems concentrating
- Lack of interest in things you’re usually interested in
- Unexplained weight changes
- Unexplained physical symptoms
- Digestive problems
There are several theories about why people with arthritis have a greater likelihood of developing a mental illness. One factor may well be how depression and pain interact.
When you’re depressed, your perception of pain is heightened. You perceive pain as being more painful when you’re depressed. At the same time, chronic pain can cause depression.
Another connection may be inflammation. Many forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are inflammatory conditions, and people diagnosed have chronically high levels of inflammation. Researchers are beginning to investigate depression as an inflammatory disorder, as well.
Finally, lifestyle may be another connecting factor. Arthritis can affect your mobility and ability to live an active lifestyle. When your joints hurt, even gentle exercise can be difficult.
Exercise is a potent approach to treating mental illness for some people. But, if you have arthritis, you may be limited in your ability to get regular exercise.
What to do
If you have arthritis and you notice any signs of mental illness, discuss how you’re feeling with your provider. We can help you understand whether what you’re feeling is something to worry about, or suggest interventions you weren’t aware of.
Living with arthritis isn’t easy; living with arthritis and mental illness is more difficult. Getting treatment can help you find a way to live your best life, regardless of your diagnosis. Schedule your appointment with us today.