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Osteoarthritis and the Potential for Depression

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I could write novels on the medical terminology of osteoarthritis to help you understand the facts of this degenerative disease, but I will spare you the pain of your eyes bleeding because this disease is more than a physical condition. Plus, quite frankly, your doctor is probably better fit for the technical questions.

With osteoarthritis you can find yourself in a constant struggle with every day activities and chores, opposed to incidents or attacks of other forms of arthritis. If you are living with arthritis you are probably physically experiencing pain and weakness throughout the better part of your day. Although all types of arthritis can alter your lifestyle in so many physical ways, osteoarthritis in particular can put insurmountable mental and emotional pressure on you. The results of this pressure can cause guilt, anxiety and even depression. You can feel like you are losing yourself and your ability to control your actions because you are not the person you were pre-arthritis.

Maybe in your hay day you were the epitome of the perfect receptionist, mother and wife. But now, filing papers, typing on a computer, loading the dishwasher and preparing dinner are so painful to think about you find yourself slacking at your job of 20 years and ordering take out more often than ever. This can lead you to feel helpless, hopeless, angry and frustrated. These negative feelings can snowball into an uncontrolled feeling of failure and guilt. This is all very common and unfortunately, if not treated, this can lead to depression.

If left untreated, your depression will not only lead you to become sedentary, but you and your family can be affected as well, without even realizing it. Everyone could be gaining weight from not eating properly, watching more television, adopting your poor attitude and not making healthy choices about exercise. Over time this turns into a vicious little cycle that spirals out of control causing a lot of mental guilt, stress and frustration for everyone. Because you are not the person you once were, you may feel you lost your ability to cope for you and your family.

Depression is widespread among the elder experiencing osteoarthritis because this disease is known for getting worse as time goes by. Although there is evidence that eating healthy and engaging in light physical activity can remedy some pain and fatigue, it is your mental health that will allow you to cope through your difficult time with osteoarthritis.

If you believe you fall under this nasty little disease, I urge you to seek medical advice. Your mental health can sometimes be more important than your physical health, so you should take the action necessary to manage your osteoarthritis. It can save you and your family by just speaking with someone about coping mechanisms to help ease you into a new lifestyle that fits your physical changes.

Depression is the rock bottom of where osteoarthritis can take you, and before it is too late, it is imperative to talk with your doctor and find ways to get your chin up. Osteoarthritis may take away your ability to play a game of kickball with your kids or grandkids, but don’t let it prevent you from cheering on the sidelines and letting your loved ones know you are there for them. A smile on your face can go an long way in dealing with this degenerative disease.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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