Depression, Anxiety, and Physical Health Problems - Topic Overview
It's not unusual for mental health problems, especially
anxiety, to occur with long-term (chronic) diseases.
For example, you may:
People who have chronic diseases such as
arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease,
hepatitis C, and
stroke often also have depression. Depression also
often occurs with
chronic pain. Depression may occur with these problems
- 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 health problems.1
- People who have depression tend to eat poorly, get less exercise,
- Some chronic diseases change your body chemistry and help cause
Cushing's syndrome and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) are examples of this.
- Depression is linked with some chronic diseases. For example,
depression makes coronary artery disease (CAD) and death from heart disease
more likely.1 Also, people with diabetes are more
likely to get depression and people with depression are more likely to develop
If you treat depression, it can improve your health and quality of life.
Here are some things you
can do to help yourself.
- Know the
symptoms of depression so that you can get treatment.
Talk to your doctor, or take this
short quiz to check your symptoms.
- Ask your doctors about the
medicines you're taking. Some medicines may cause
depression, and medicines you take for depression may make other health
- Read all about depression.
Here are tools to help a friend or family member who may be
- Depression: Helping Someone Get Treatment
- Depression: Supporting Someone Who Is Depressed
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. For example, older men who have an anxiety disorder are
more likely to have a heart attack.3