Chronic pain and depression are intrinsically linked, an association that is widely known and acknowledged. Reinforcing the fact, a group of Japanese researchers recently found that close to 12 percent patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) may suffer from depression. Osteoarthritis is among the most prevalent joint disease and one of the leading causes of disability, mostly for people aged 60 years and above.
The researchers assessed 573 patients diagnosed with geriatric knee OA but had no history of depression over a period of two years. They used the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) along with the Geriatric Depression Scale in order to identify depressive symptoms in the patients.
Pain and impairment led to depression
When the researchers followed up with the respondents, they found that 11.9 percent of them developed depressive symptoms due to pain and impairment of function. People who faced difficulty in certain situations, such as pain at night while sleeping (odds ratio 2.6), difficulty in putting on and taking off socks and getting in and out of a car, had a higher probability of developing depression.
With approximately 54 million people (13 percent women and 10 percent men) in the U.S. suffering from OA, a regular screening for depression is essential. The authors of the study are optimistic that screening of patients with knee OA would help identify depressive symptoms and also find a possible treatment for it.
Social impairment more dangerous than physical problem
The research shows that more than the actual physical impairment brought on by OA, the social impact of the disease is scathing and linked to increased chances of developing depression in patients. If there is someone in the family with OA, then it becomes necessary to get them screened at regular intervals. Alternatively, one can be alert and vigilant in noticing the symptoms of depression, and visit a clinician when necessary.
Experts have enlisted certain factors that can predict the development of depression in patients of knee OA. These include:
Apart from the patient’s age, other factors can be managed with a comprehensive treatment plan and when these factors are managed, the chances of developing depression reduce manifold.
Dealing with depression
One of the most common mental health conditions, depression is a debilitating disorder, which, if left untreated may lead to harmful and adverse consequences. Depression is much more than merely feeling low, down or having a bad day. When feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and constant tiredness last for a longer period and interfere with normal and everyday functioning, one may be suffering from depression.
It is important to understand that depression is treatable. It is important to identify symptoms of depression at the earliest and seek immediate help from the experts. If you have a loved one suffering from depression, approach a credible rehab center in your vicinity at the earliest.
Sovereign Health is the leading behavioral health treatment caregiver in the United States offering evidence-based treatment to patients with mental disorders, addiction and dual diagnosis. Call at our 24/7 helpline for more information on treatment centers for depression for your loved one. You may also chat online with one of our mental health experts for immediate assistance on residential treatment centers for depression. Our depression treatment centers are among the best in the country.