Isn't having chronic illness a good reason to be depressed?
Unfortunately, all too common is a distorted notion that those with a chronic illness have "reason to feel depressed because they are sick." This belief interferes with early recognition, early treatment, and early relief of suffering from clinical depression. This belief also ignores the facts that clinical depression in people who are physically ill generally responds well to standard psychiatric treatments and that patients treated only for their physical illness can suffer needlessly from clinical depression.
Depression and Lupus
Is it lupus or is it depression?
Depressive illness often goes unrecognized in those who have other medical illnesses because it presents symptoms so similar to those of the underlying medical condition.
For patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), symptoms of depressive illness that quite naturally can be attributed to the lupus condition include:
- loss of energy and interest
- pain intensification
- diminished sexual interest and/or performance.
What causes depression in lupus?
There is no one cause of clinical depression in lupus; rather, there are various and different factors contributing to depression in chronic illnesses such as lupus.
- The most common cause is the emotional drain from the continuous series of stresses and strains associated with coping with the chronic illness and medical condition.
- Other causes may be the many sacrifices and losses required by the continuous life adjustments that a patient with a chronic illness must make.
- Various medications used to treat lupus, such as steroids (e.g., prednisone), may bring about depression.
- Lupus involvement of certain organs (e.g., the brain, heart, or kidneys) can lead to clinical depression.
- There also are many unrecognized or unknown factors (which may or may not be related to lupus) which may cause depressive illness.
Of course, there are people who would develop clinical depression whether or not they had lupus. In fact, it is the most common psychiatric condition seen in the general population-20 percent of women and 10 percent of men-as well as in medical practice.