A new study has shown that 1/3 of all Americans suffering from arthritis have mental or emotional symptoms as well. I don’t find this statistic surprising in the least as I find with people I have contact with often suffer osteoarthritis depression and anxiety.
I think many people with chronic pain will suffer from depression and anxiety. I also think the pain often caused them to be depressed or anxious and then the mental pain causes more physical pain. The term psychosomatic means brain (psycho) to muscle (muscle) not, as is commonly used, that the person is putting it on. Therefore when we are dis-eased in our brain it affects our muscles. I believe it always goes to the weakest muscles- the ones around our osteoarthritis joints.
The study, reported at EurekAlert, investigated both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis depression and anxiety.
“The present study, led by Dr. Louise Murphy with the Arthritis Program at the CDC in Atlanta, Ga., selected individuals who were previous responders to the CDC’s Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey—a representative population of U.S. adults 45 years or older with arthritis symptoms. Researchers identified 1,793 participants with doctor-diagnosed arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Anxiety and depression were assessed using the emotional wellbeing questions from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales.”
As their findings were based on adults over 45 it is likely that a larger percentage of these people will have had osteoarthritis rather than rheumatoid.
“Results reveal that anxiety was more common than depression in this population at 31% and 18%, respectively. Moreover, one-third of respondents reported at least one of the two conditions, and 84% of those with depression also had anxiety. Researchers did not uncover a specific profile of characteristics for those with either mental health condition. However, only half of participants with anxiety or depression arthritis sought mental health treatment in the prior year.”
Why do so many of us suffer with osteoarthritis depression and anxiety?
Personally I think it is the lack of hope. We know that we there is no cure and we are going to be battling our osteoarthritis pain for the rest of our live. We also know that osteoarthritis is a progressive condition so the the best thing we can look forward to is replacement surgery if we have osteoarthritis is a part of our body that is replaceable!
This is not an easy future to live with.
Do we worry about how we will cope later in life? Can this lead to osteoarthritis depression and anxiety? Of course it can.
One of the most important things you can have is a positive mental attitude. If you take positive steps and start to manage your condition you can relieve the pain and you feel better in yourself because you are doing something to help yourself. That in turn reduces the osteoarthritis depression and anxiety you are suffering.
Pain is very wearing to live with. If you ease the physical pain, in many cases you will ease the mental and emotional pain as well. There are simple lifestyle changes you can make and easy to use home remedies that cost literally a few dollars you can use. You don’t have to break the bank to make a difference to how you are feeling.