Depression, Anxiety & Your Health
How does depression and anxiety affect your health?
It is a proven fact that our brains and emotions are much more intertwined than people previously believed.
Anxiety and depression symptoms are strongly linked to poor physical health, yet these conditions continue to receive limited attention in a primary care setting.
People who have chronic diseases such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, ect often also have depression. Depression also often occurs with chronic pain. Depression may occur with these problems because:
- The everyday stress of dealing with a chronic disease causes the depression or makes it worse.
- People who have depression often find it hard to take care of their health, which can lead to other health problems.
- People who have depression tend to eat poorly, get less exercise, and may tend to smoke or drink more often.
- Some chronic diseases change your body chemistry and help cause depression.
- People with diabetes are more likely to get depression and people with depression are more likely to develop diabetes.
Anxiety and health problems also are linked. You may feel anxious because you have a health problem. And anxiety can make a health problem worse
To help yourself:
- Know the symptoms of anxiety, like not being able to relax no matter how hard you try. Most of the time the harder you try to relax the more anxious you feel. If you often feel anxious, talk with your doctor.
- Reduce anxiety by getting regular exercise, doing relaxation techniques, and lowering stress in your life.
For Anxiety and Depression, you can:
- Talk to all your doctors and tell them about all your health problems. Your family and other medical doctors need to know you are depressed, and any counselor you talk to needs to know about your physical health problems.
- Join a support group for depression, anxiety, or the chronic disease you have. You can also find support by talking with family and friends.
- Eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs. They can make depression and anxiety worse.
Many people have concerns about seeking treatment for a mental health problem. You may think it’s a sign of weakness, or you don’t want people to know about it. It is NOT a sign of weakness or anything to be ashamed of. It takes tremendous strength to ask for help.
Treating depression and/or anxiety is good for your health.