Chronic Illness/Disease and Anxiety and Depression

What is a chronic illness/disease? 

A condition that requires medical attention and/or restricts a person’s life daily and lasts at least one year is considered a chronic illness/disease.1 The most common of these in the United States include but are not limited to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Out of all the health conditions in the United States, chronic illnesses/diseases are the most prevalent, costly, and responsible for seven out of ten deaths in the United States. 2

Chronic illnesses/diseases can be a result of risk factors such as age, family history, substance use, poor eating habits, environmental status, and more.3

Chronic illnesses/diseases include: 

•    Alzheimer’s
•    Arthritis   
•    Cancer
•    Chronic Kidney Disease
•    Cystic Fibrosis
•    Dementia
•    Diabetes
•    Fibromyalgia
•    Heart Disease 
•    Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)
•    Lung Conditions
•    Obesity
•    Osteoporosis
•    Parkinson’s
•    Stroke 
•    Traumatic Brain Injury

What does chronic illness/disease have to do with anxiety and depression? 

Because of the nature of chronic illnesses/diseases, whether it be increased hospitalization, excessive worry, or hormonal changes, having a chronic illness/disease increases the likelihood of developing a mental illness. 4 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is prevalent in 51% of Parkinson’s patients, 42% of cancer patients, 27% of Diabetes patients, 23% of cerebrovascular patients, 17% of cardiovascular patients, and 11% of Alzheimer’s patients.5 Not only does chronic illness/disease increase the chances of having a mental illness, but people experiencing depression are more likely to have other medical conditions.6  

For those with chronic illness/disease(s), if you think you have anxiety and/or depression, it is important to contact your primary health provider for details on diagnosing and treatment.  

If your child has a chronic illness, they are likely encountering more challenges physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively than their peers. Like adults, children with chronic illnesses may have anxiety, depression, or a related disorder. Parents should be mindful of this and contact their child’s health care provider if they notice any signs of depression, anxiety, or a related disorder.7

Financial Assistance:  Learn how you can get help paying for your chronic disease copays

  • HealthWell Foundation is a national non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to insured Americans living with chronic or life-altering conditions. 
  • CancerCare - helps people with cancer overcome financial access and treatment barriers by assisting them with co-payments for their prescribed treatments..
  • NeedyMeds -  connects people to programs that will help them afford their medications and other healthcare costs.

ADAA Resources:

 

Chronic Illness/Disease - General

Fibromyalgia

Older Adults and Dementia

Heart Disease

Obesity


References: 
1 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). (2021, April 28). About Chronic Diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm  
 
2 Raghupathi, W., & Raghupathi, V. (2018). An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Visual Analytics Approach. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(3), 431. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030431 
 
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, October). Mental Health and Chronic Diseases[Infographic]. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/pdfs/ issue-brief-no-2-mental-health-and-chronic-disease.pdf 
 
4 Mental Health America. (n.d.). Infographic: Chronic Health Conditions And Mental Health. https://mhanational.org/infographic-chronic-health-conditions-and-mental-health 
 
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, October). Mental Health and Chronic Diseases[Infographic]. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/pdfs/issue-brief-no-2-mental-health-and-chronic-disease.pdf 
 
6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Chronic Illness and Mental Health Recognizing and Treating Depression[Infographic]. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/chronic-illness-mental-health/21-mh-8015-chronicillness-mentalhealth_151898.pdf 
 
7U.S Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Chronic Illness and Mental Health Recognizing and Treating Depression[Infographic]. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/chronic-illness-mental-health/21-mh-8015-chronicillness-mentalhealth_151898.pdf 
 


The content of this page was published in July, 2021.

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