Depression is a most common side effect of osteoarthritis. This occurs when you start out healthy, being able to do things for yourself, but overtime you are less able to take care of yourself as the pains get worse. Research has shown that up to twenty percent of people with osteoarthritis are depressed at any given time, a percentage consistent with that found in other people with chronic diseases.
If osteoarthritis has left you depressed, there are a number of things you can do in addition to the arthritis treatment you get from your doctor.
This is often referred to as the 'talking cure', and it is used to treat mild episodes of depression.
2 Drug Therapy
This is the use of drugs to improve the symptoms of depression. The class of drugs used for this purpose is called antidepressants. It is advisable to consult your doctor before taking any antidepressant because medicines used in treating depression sometimes have different side effects.
Psychotherapy and drug therapy are mostly combined to treat arthritis patients with depression, and this combined approach has advantages.
It reestablishes normal body patterns more quickly
It helps to ensure compliance in taking medication
It recognizes the dual influence of biology and environment.
3 Learn to cope with your condition
Research has shown that those who cope best with any disease are less likely to develop depression, that is, those who deal with their osteoarthritis are less likely to sink into depression. Be proactive at solving your problem, and try to be as flexible with your daily activities as possible. Be ready to modify your lifestyle in a positive way, thereby winning the battle over depression.
4 Get Social Support
It is advisable for you to join a support group where you can find sympathetic ears and get some advice on coping with your condition.
5 Learn to Relax
Always find a way to cool off and reduce your stress. The best defense against stress is a positive attitude.
Stress itself may not cause depression but can make it worse. It signals certain glands to release high-voltage chemicals that can 'shock' the body and weaken the immune system, making your osteoarthritis symptoms seem worse while increasing your risk of getting some other disease.
Do anything you can to relax and shake off the stress- listening to music, meditating, or taking up a hobby. Getting enough sleep is also essential to reducing stress.
6 Touch Therapy
Research has shown that touch can reduce psychological stress associated with arthritis. And only a very soft touch is required as bear hugs may be too much for many osteoarthritis sufferers. A gentle, loving touch can be very beneficial in fighting arthritis.