Depression and anxiety are normal emotional responses to a life-altering situation, such as a diagnosis of SpA. Most people, in time, learn to live with the inconsistencies of SpA and its ups and downs. But if your distress persists, becomes severe, or starts to interfere with your daily life and functioning, it might be time to reach out for help.
Potential signs of clinical depression include:
❖ Marked changes in sleeping patterns
❖ Ongoing fatigue and listlessness
❖ Changes in appetite (loss of appetite or over-eating)
❖ Uncontrollable feelings of sadness, guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness, or purposelessness
❖ Disturbances in memory or concentration
❖ Suicidal thoughts
❖ Difficulty with sexual function or loss of interest in sex
Potential signs of clinical anxiety include:
❖ Feelings of severe worry, fear, and tension
❖ Physical changes such as increased blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, trembling, or perspiration
❖ Recurring, intrusive thoughts and concerns
Research has shown that people living with chronic illness experience higher rates of clinical anxiety and depression than the general population. If you are experiencing these issues, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many counseling and therapy options available—with both in-person and virtual sessions offered.
Some mental health professionals are specially trained to work with individuals with chronic illness or pain. These professionals, often called health psychologists, understand the mind-body connection and how medical diagnoses can affect mental health. It all comes down to finding the right professional for you and your unique situation.