Depression and Anxiety in Cystic Fibrosis
When living with a chronic illness, mental health can sometimes take a backseat. Dealing with all the doctor’s appointments, medication schedules, and managing day-to-day life is exhausting enough. But neglecting mental health can have drastic consequences to your overall health.
Depression and anxiety are frequent in cystic fibrosis
People who suffer from cystic fibrosis are more likely to suffer from mental illness. In addition, people who care for someone who suffers from this disease are also at an increased risk. Depression and anxiety are 2-3 times more frequent in people who either have cystic fibrosis themselves or who take care of someone who suffers from it.
Untreated depression and anxiety have grave consequences
It's important to realize that depression and anxiety should not be ignored. If you feel that you may suffer from these emotional conditions, seek the help of a licensed mental health professional. Talk to someone you trust if you need some support or advice on how to go about asking for help. Persistent, untreated depression and anxiety have grave consequences.
What's the difference between clinical depression and feeling sad?
What many people don't realize is that depression is a real medical illness. It's more than just feeling sad from time to time. Depression is pervasive and can negatively affect many aspects of your life. Clinical depression can last years, and can even lead people to feel hopeless to the point of committing suicide. Anxiety can also be a medical concern as well. Though everyone is subject to feeling stressed and worried from time to time, an anxiety disorder can prevent someone from accomplishing even the most simple of daily activities.
What happens if you don't treat clinical depression or anxiety?
Some people may try to ignore their emotional illness. But this is never a good idea. Untreated depression and anxiety can have major impacts on both physical and emotional health. It can interfere with your ability to care for yourself or your child. People who are untreated and have depression and anxiety are less likely to manage their health. Treatment plans and medication schedules often require a lot of planning and motivation to get out of bed and get going. People who have cystic fibrosis and depression or anxiety also tend to have worse lung function, lower body mass, and experience more hospitalizations.
Take steps to promote mental health
Believe it or not, there are ways to prevent the development of depression or anxiety. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the European Cystic Fibrosis Society have sponsored the development of International Guidelines to come up with recommendations for people who are affected by this disease. They encourage people to get regularly screened for depression and anxiety and recommend treatment if they are found to have a mood imbalance.
Read on to learn more about how to manage depression and anxiety when living with cystic fibrosis.