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Fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis Depression

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purple stormOften, I get letters from Rheumatoid Arthritis patients struggling with depression. I always encourage them to consider the options of counseling or medication since there’s no way to know how serious their depression may be. It’s heartbreaking. We hope that most of the time we can avoid serious depression, but patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis or any chronic pain are more likely to deal with depression.

Can we avoid the pitfalls of Rheumatoid Arthritis depression? We can try…

  1. Not keeping it to ourselves. We’ve talked about the tendency to be private about our pain. However, I think there is only so much that a person can hold inside. We can let out our feelings by writing them down or tell them to God in prayer. We still might need another human.
  2. Knowing there is not an easy answer. We know that RA is a lifelong battle. In an earlier depression post, I wrote how I learned that it helps to “stop being surprised” at our suffering. I’m not sure why, but it helps me to have realistic expectations.
  3. Finding other patients make special friends. It’s so helpful when we find a friend who gets it. It could be a support system or an online discussion, but no one understands RA like someone who has been there.
  4. Getting our doctors’ help. Our doctors can help treat the pain that can cause depression. When RA patients have symptoms under control, they often return to doing normal things and feeling better emotionally. Most of us may not ever find our pre-RA normal, but we can strive for the best treatment possible.
  5. Considering professional help. I know I already mentioned it, but counseling or medication should be considered an option that might be part of treatment for RA patients.

Since we are the ones know what we deal with every day, what ideas do you have for keeping depression in check with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Neither the blog nor comments are professional medical advice; see disclaimer here.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under RA Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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