Depression and Chronically or Terminally Ill People

Research has shown that there is a connection between a person’s level of depression during treatment for chronic and terminal illnesses and their survival rate. Chronically ill depressed people have a four times greater risk of death as compared with non-depressed chronically ill patients. Depression intensifies pain, physical symptoms of medical illness, fatigue, and isolation and decreases energy, memory, and the person’s quality of life. Depressed patients have higher medical costs as a result. Often, depression is disregarded as a typical symptom of being diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. In people that were diagnosed with depression according to a 2009 study, 84% were treated solely with drugs. The best treatment for depression is a combination on varying levels, depending on the person, of therapy and drugs. So what should you do if you or a loved one needs help? The first step is to talk to someone. You can call an organization or agency that specializes in the chronic or terminal illness that is affecting you or someone you love, such as Gilda’s Club for those living with cancer, their families, and their friends. Ask your Doctor, friends, grocery store checkout lady, anyone, if they know of a therapist or look online. Most therapists who do not specialize in what you are seeking help for will refer you to another therapist they know who may be more experienced in your particular needs. Before chronic illness or terminal illness can be managed properly, depression must be treated first! Get the help you need for yourself or your loved one, it may be hard to make that first phone call, but it will be worth it!


FSOSW Social Worker Spotlight

Look for the social worker spotlight section of the newsletter.

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