Healthy Living

More Than Bones: Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Mental Health

Ignoring mental health is dangerous for people living with RA

Living with a chronic disease such as RA may cause one to experience more physical pain and disability. This, in turn, can also affect mental health. Although sometimes RA may directly cause mental health issues, most often these issues arise because of changes brought about by the disease. This is why it is important to work with one’s treatment provider and a mental health practitioner. Together, both the physical and mental aspects of the disease can be addressed.
“We begin by helping them understand that they do have power in this situation, and a variety of self-help techniques will help them. It’s a multidimensional approach to the disorder that works best,” said Patricia A. Farrell, psychologist. Self-help techniques may include getting RA symptoms under control, sticking to a healthy diet, getting more physical activity, trying talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, and/or joining a support group. Knowing that help is available plays a central role in easing pain, anxiety, and depression associated with RA. It is more than bones – it is managing mental health.