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The Emotional Effects of Psoriatic Arthritis

(continued)

Loneliness and Isolation continued...

Think about the relationships where the people who matter to you make you feel as if you matter to them. You can share your innermost feelings of fear, insecurity, and guilt, and they accept you -- just as you are -- with no strings attached. The comfort and positive feedback you get from these supporters can offset the unpleasantness, instead of letting a moment's crisis overwhelm you.

With their help, you may also find it easier to keep up with your treatment.

The findings are the same in study after study: People with many social contacts -- a partner, a close-knit family, a network of friends, and religious or other group connections -- live longer and have better health. Don't be afraid to open up and reach out.

Depression

You're more likely to become depressed when you have a disease that can't be cured. Living with it can wear you out over time. Changes in your brain may affect your mood, thinking, and behavior.

People with depression may feel:

  • Sadness
  • Guilt or worthlessness
  • Irritability and anger
  • No interest or pleasure in things they used to enjoy

Other common signs include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • A tough time getting out of bed
  • Trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
  • Mood swings
  • Staying at home and avoiding friends
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Headaches or stomachaches without a known cause

Depression can be treated. Medication can help reset the chemicals in your brain, and therapy can help you work through your troubles.

Let your doctor know if you've been feeling down or struggling to get through the day for more than a couple of weeks. He can sort out whether your symptoms are psoriatic arthritis or depression and help you deal with them.

Take Action

When your feelings start to get to you, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Counseling can help you change negative thinking patterns, plan strategies, and build skills to become stronger emotionally. Seek help early to avoid more serious problems later.

The exercise that keeps your joints working, strengthens your muscles, and builds your endurance can also ease bottled-up tension and boost your mood. If simple activities like walking are hard, get in the pool. The water supports your weight, so you can move more easily and without impact on your joints.

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