Definition of Chronic Illness: A chronic illness is a condition that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely, although some illnesses can be controlled or managed through lifestyle (diet and exercise) and certain medications.
Persons with chronic conditions are more likely to suffer from depression. The reverse is also true: the risk of developing some physical illnesses is higher in people with depression.
People with depression have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, for example. Research also suggests that people with depression are at higher risk for osteoporosis relative to others. The reasons are not yet clear. One factor with some of these illnesses is that many people with depression may have less access to good medical care. They may have a harder time caring for their health, for example, seeking care, taking prescribed medication, eating well, and exercising.
Do not dismiss depression as a normal part of having a chronic illness. Effective treatment for depression is available and can help even if you have another medical illness or condition. If you or a loved one think you have depression, it is important to tell your healthcare provider and explore treatment options.
You should also inform the health care provider about all treatments or medications you are already receiving, including treatment for depression (prescribed medications and dietary supplements). Sharing information can help avoid problems with multiple medications interfering with each other. It also helps the provider stay informed about your overall health and treatment issues.
Provided by: NIMH.nih.gov (National Institute of Mental Health)
PDF Guide provided by: National Institute of Mental Health (PDF Guide)