Chronic Illness and Depression

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Caroline Kulinski, MS Patient
Don't leave her hanging.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMD
When first diagnosed with MS in 2007, Caroline Kulinski struggled to adjust to life with a chronic disease.

Caroline Kulinski, MS Patient cont.
Most people with MS, their symptoms aren't visible. It's something like vision problems or the fact I can't feel my legs right now. Or I've got tingling all over and it feels like ants are crawling up my arms. Or I'm just so tired I can hardly walk.

Lenaki Alexander, Lupus Patient
Autoimmune diseases are frustrating. They are so frustrating. You can feel great one day. I can go out and row 15,000 meters and feel marvelous. And two days later, I can't get out of bed.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMd cont
Lenaki Alexander has lupus, another in a family of chronic autoimmune disorders.

Lenaki Alexander, Lupus Patient cont
Depression is another issue. The ramifications are unbelievable, not only to family and to friends. Financially, physically, emotionally.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMD cont
Studies show that depression and chronic illness often go hand in hand. For example, 40% to 65% of heart disease patients, 40% of Parkinson and MS patients, and 25% of cancer and diabetes patients will experience depression due to their illness. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed.

Dr. Patrice Harris
Medications that are prescribed can cause symptoms that mimic a depressive disorder. It is not uncommon for certain symptoms to be characteristics of more than one disorder.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMD cont
Depression can also aggravate a chronic condition, intensifying pain or fatigue and possibly causing the person to isolate themselves from others. Experts suggest that anyone living with a chronic illness and their loved ones be acutely aware of the dangers of depression and do what they can to avoid it.

Dr Mark Gilson
Get them out of the house. Figure a way to do that. That would be one of the best things to do that's simple and potent.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMD cont
Don't forget the power of the internet.

Caroline Kulinski, MS Patient cont
Online forums where you can talk to people 24/7 that have MS and just swap stories and, am I crazy. There are ants crawling up my arms. No. No, I've had that too. Just to make you feel a little more normal.

Dr Mark Gilson cont.
learning to listen to your body--

Lenaki Alexander, Lupus Patient cont.
Learn about your disease process. Learn about the medications you're on, the side effects. And don't be afraid to ask the physician.

Speaker 1
[INAUDIBLE] to the handle.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMD cont
To keep your spirits up, try your best to continue to do the things you love. For Lenaki Alexander, that's rowing.

Lenaki Alexander, Lupus Patient cont
It helps mentally, which is very important in fighting lupus. I feel like I have some control of my disease process and my life.

Sandee LaMotte, WebMD cont
For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.