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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Depression

Women are more prone to RA and depression, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with both of them. Here’s how to get relief.

8 Ways to Deal with Depression continued...

Antidepressants. Relieving anxiety, fatigue, depression, or insomnia with mood-stabilizing medications can also ease pain. Some antidepressants also have painkilling properties. Your doctor can help you figure out if taking an antidepressant is right for you. 

Sleep. If pain disturbs your sleep, try taking a painkiller right before you go to bed. Some antidepressants also may help reduce sleep problems.

Pleasure. Do something that makes you feel good. Lin advocates scheduling a pleasant or social activity -- reading, music, a long shower, a visit with a friend -- into each day’s activities. It helps keep you from falling into a cycle of pain, isolation, and less activity.

Manage. Depression can make everything seem overwhelming, so break things down into doable chunks. If your house is a mess, start with one small area to clean. Take a short walk instead of pushing yourself to go far. If you feel you can’t deal with both depression and RA, take it one step at a time. 

“Once you start that positive, invigorating cycle upward, it’s synergistic,” says Lin. “You may need to push yourself a little, but you’ll feel so much better after.”

Reviewed on March 12, 2014

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