Depression and arthritis are closely joined. About a third of US adults who have arthritis over the age of 45 report having a depression and anxiety condition. These are incredibly high statistics and reveal the extent of people with arthritis often suffering in silence – not coming forward to address the problem makes beating the depression more difficult.
A survey conducted by Arthritis Care found that a third of people find talking therapies effective against the pain, although a worrying statistic is that they believe nothing can actually help them. Only half of the people with these mental health issues sought treatment for them over the past year.
The correlation between depression and arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, is well known, but this study suggests anxiety may be even more common than previously believed.*
Depression and arthritis is strengthened by the psychology of chronic pain
People with chronic pain can’t stop thinking about it, even when pain-free. The thought and prospect of impending pain means that even minor aches can be magnified out of proportion. This behaviour is a strong part of depression.
Three out of four people with arthritis said the pain prevents them sleeping through the night, and one-third said it stops them from having an intimate relationship. * It’s no surprise then to see depression and arthritis closely connected.
Proper mental health treatment is essential for people who battle arthritis and other chronic pain conditions, especially if their personality veers towards depression. In our articles on fear and anger we looked at the personality types that naturally move towards depression. These include people-pleasers, overly conscientious types and anxious and controlling people.
The nexus between depression and chronic pain is definite and devastating. We want people to beat both chronic pain and depression. It starts by seeing the connection between the two and ensuring proper treatment is given to both. Justin’s Bennett’s story on How I Beat Depression and How I Beat RSI is a story of someone who overcame both chronic pain and depression concurrently. Depression and arthritis do not need to go hand in hand.