Depression and Anxiety Common in Arthritis Patients- Of Course!

Even before I read this article on MedPage this morning, I had been thinking a lot about depression and anxiety in my own life.  It makes sense that they would be pretty common in people with chronic illness.  To sum up the article, people with arthritis are likely to have depression issues, but they are even more likely to be dealing with anxiety.

If you think about the life of the chronically ill- the ups and downs, the unknowns- it is not at all surprising that this would be true.  Our health is a constant question mark; our lives hinge almost completely on that question mark.  Of course, we’re anxious!  Of course, we’re depressed!

I have been dealing with depression for years and years.  For the last five years I have been treated (successfully) for depression.  I see my p-doc every six months for a med check.  At this point I have been on the same med, at the same dose, for about two years.  I see him on Thursday, and I have been thinking a lot about that visit.  He asks me standard screening questions every visit, and every visit my answers are the same.  But this time, I think the whole conversation will be changed because of my other recent diagnoses.

Do you find yourself taking enjoyment in things?  Um, not really.

Are you having feelings of sadness?  Yep.

Do you have motivation to do things?  Um, no.

Are you sleeping? Ha!

Have you had many episodes of crying?  Well….

Yeah, it’s going to be a totally different visit.  And I’m curious about how it will go.  Because what I know is that I have been dealing with situational depression.  IE my situation is making me depressed.  For people with depressive disorder, it is often not a situation that causes it, but it is that depression is like a cloud that constantly hovers.  We can’t control it.  Even when life is fine and good, we may have the cloud hanging around.  Meds take the cloud away for me.  But that doesn’t make me immune (obviously) from situational depression.  But I have been wondering about this.  Have I been more upset than I should be about everything because my meds are no longer at their peak?  Do my other meds lessen the effectiveness of my anti-depressant?  Would it be helpful to increase my dose to help me through this period and then bring it back down in a few months?

Things are doubly complicated in that depression often is part of fibromaylgia.  So does that mean, my treatment should be different, should be the “standard” fibro/depression treatment (assuming there is one)?  Or does it mean we have one more thing to take into account in our semi-annual meetings?

As with most things, we shall see!  I’ll let you all know how it goes on Thursday.