If you suffer from any chronic illness, it's quite possible the toll it takes on you will impact your emotions. And researchers are starting to pay attention to this issue. Research recently conducted at UT Southwestern Medical Center and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that this problem actually makes the chronic illness harder to treat.
The researchers were investigating patients who suffered from both chronic kidney disease and depression. Although the patients were taking a common antidepressant, they weren't getting better. So the researchers decided to look at this issue more closely. Unfortunately, they found that traditional antidepressants are typically ineffective in people suffering from depression who also have another chronic illness, including kidney disease, asthma, and congestive heart failure.
The news gets worse when you look at the numbers of people suffering from these issues. In fact, almost half of all Americans have some sort of chronic medical issue. And many of these people have high rates of depression. Over half of Parkinson's patients have major depression, as do 41% of cancer patients and over 25% of diabetics. The researchers are urging the medical community to investigate this subtype of depression more carefully to better understand how to treat it and to consider alternative treatment options for these patients. Patients and doctors both need to understand that standard antidepressants are unlikely to work and may cause a host of negative side effects as well.
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I've written before about a number of natural approaches to depression. If your antidepressant is working for you, you should talk to your doctor before making any changes. But if you haven't had any luck with conventional treatment, particularly if you have a chronic illness, these suggestions are worth taking to heart. You can access all this information through my website. Additionally, I have a whole chapter on stress, depression, and belief systems in my book Bursting With Energy. Of course, the first step is making sure you're living a healthy lifestyle. We can often underestimate how much diet, exercise, sleep, and stress contribute to our well-being.
It's frustrating to know that a chronic illness may cause even more issues than expected. But you do have options, and it helps to know what you're working with, even if the news isn't what you were hoping for.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD