Chronic illness is a health condition that lasts a long time and can cause us to adjust our daily activities to accommodate pain or fatigue that comes with the condition. The official definition of chronic disease is one that lasts at least 3 months. Conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, chronic fatigue are a few of the conditions that can bring challenges into our lives that we didn’t expect to have.
Chronic illness and mental health
We know chronic illness can affect our mental health. It is common to feel down emotionally as a result of physical pain or an extended bout of fatigue. Our life becomes interrupted, our mood dips, if the situation continues we can become anxious as well. Over time if the condition worsens or does not get better, depression may develop. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders associated with chronic illness. The risk to develop depression becomes much higher if we have a condition that disrupts our lives and causes physical discomfort or loss of energy.
Treating depression with chronic illness
Experts recommend treatment for both the physical condition and depression as those who have both depression and chronic illness tend to have worse symptoms in both conditions.
Therapy offers many resources to help those with chronic illness feel better.
In a warm and supportive environment you will learn:
- Coping strategies
- Grounding activities
- Deep breathing techniques
- Practical strategies to manage your condition
Additional therapeutic techniques for chronic illness include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is effective for managing negative thought patterns and restructuring our internal narrative. These skills are known to help with depression and anxiety and are also effective in managing stress.
Reducing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety can help us feel better overall and give us the best chance of achieving greater wellbeing, even in the face of physical challenges.
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