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February 2023

Chronic Conditions Can Cause Emotional Stress

Battling one or more chronic diseases can take an emotional as well as a physical toll. Feeling down or discouraged about your condition and the impact it’s having on your life can sometimes turn into depression.

Understanding the mind-body connection

Depression often leads to poor eating, exercise, and sleeping habits—which can make your physical condition even worse. Depression is also a known factor in causing heart attacks and strokes.

Studies show that as many as 25% of people with chronic illnesses experience depression. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with one, act quickly to tackle any signs of depression. Talk with your healthcare provider about referring you to a mental health professional who can help you cope with your condition, follow your treatment plan, and develop a more positive outlook.

Changing your perspective

Here are a few suggestions to help you keep a positive attitude in day-to-day life:

  • Stay connected. Maintain good relationships with your family and friends. And consider joining a support group. Not only could it help you feel better, but you might enjoy helping others feel better, too.

  • Take care of yourself. Despite your condition, make sure you eat well, get plenty of exercise and rest, and participate in activities that you enjoy.

  • Create a daily routine that works for you. Prioritize which tasks need to be done, and learn to say “no” when it feels like you’re taking on too much. At the end of each day, consider all you’ve accomplished—not what you were unable to do.

What’s a chronic condition?

A chronic condition is one that lasts a year or more and requires regular medical care and/or limits your normal daily activities. They can range from physical illnesses, such as arthritis, asthma and other lung problems, diabetes, heart disease, and HIV, to behavioral conditions, including substance abuse disorders, mental illness, and cognitive impairments.





Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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