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7 Ways to Ease RA Depression

Ways to Ease Depression continued...

He encourages patients to join a group of like-minded people for activities. You could volunteer to help other people with RA or depression.

Have a hobby? Nurture it. There are web sites that help you find people with similar interests in your area.

Lastly, stay active with your family and friends.

4. Stay positive. An upbeat outlook can get you through tough times and help ease your pain and depression. 

Phrases like "nothing is going to help me feel better" can make you feel worse. Doctors call this "catastrophic" thinking. It’s been linked to higher levels of pain and mental distress in people with RA. 

5. Speak up.Tell your doctors if you feel sad or overwhelmed, even if you just feel a little "off." Does your pain affect your mood? Tell your doctor that, too. He can screen you for depression.

"We should screen for depression the same way we screen for heart disease and high cholesterol,” Margaretten says.

6. Be open to treatment. Certain types of counseling or talk therapy can help you spot negative thoughts and actions and change the way you react.

Antidepressants can also help. Your doctor will find one that works safely with your RA medications, says Margaretten. 

7. Don't skip your meds. When you’re depressed, you may be less likely to take your medications as directed -- or at all.  If you’re prescribed an antidepressant and don’t take it, you could get worse. If you don't follow your RA treatment plan, you might have more pain and problems.

"It's important to work with your rheumatologist to get your RA under control," says Eric Matteson, MD, chair of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Reviewed on November 21, 2014

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