Problems That Accompany Chronic Depression

Reviewed Aug 17, 2017

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Summary

  • Medical illnesses can mimic depression, and chronic depression can worsen health too.
  • Chronic depression is treatable, and attention must also be given to the conditions that accompany it.

Chronic depression is depression that has lasted at least two years. Often, it comes with other health problems that can be there before the depression. They helped set the stage for it. Other conditions linked with chronic depression result from the bad effects of depression.

Who does it affect?

Depression is more likely to last when a person lacks social supports. Childhood issues or trauma, lower education, and lower or loss of financial rank are risk factors. Poor health or a family history of people with mood disorders is also linked with chronic depression. People who most often focus on the bad side of things are more likely to have it. Loss of a loved one is one more major cause of long-lasting depression.

People with chronic depression have a higher chance of suicidal thoughts and actions. 

Chronic depression also is linked with drinking too much and using other drugs. For some people, alcohol or drugs fights off low moods for a short time. Drug and alcohol use can worsen depression. It can also add to the chance of taking one's own life.

Personality disorders and other health issues

Personality disorders are self-defeating ways of dealing with stressful events or with other people. The disorders are seen often in those with chronic depression. Some doctors believe that the personality disorders make someone more likely to feel unhappy. Others believe that the bad habits of a personality disorder can result from the effects of feeling down. Depression makes a person less patient. It can also make him touchier, less active, more dependent, and more anxious and fearful. Any of these signs can look like a personality disorder, but can often get better if depression is treated.

When you mix depression, anxiety and drug use, it is clear why those with chronic low mood also have more trouble with others. They end their marriage with spouses more often than people without it. They also have trouble at work. Missed days and days of low effort are a costly feature.

Chronic depression is also linked with many serious health diseases. People with heart disease, anemia, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS or other serious health issues are more likely to get depressed. It can worsen health problems. Many of the health problems that are linked with chronic depression can be treated, improving low mood symptoms.

With good social supports, a healthy lifestyle, good health and care, talk therapy and medicine, most people get better and stay healthy. If you are feeling chronically depressed, please make sure that you talk about it with your doctor.

Resource

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
(800) 826-3632
www.dbsalliance.org

By James M. Ellison, MD, MPH
Source: Torpey DC, Klein DN. Chronic depression: Update on classification and treatment. Current Psychiatry Reports 2008;10:458-464; Gelenberg AJ, Kocsis JH, McCullough JP et al. The state of knowledge of chronic depression. J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(2):179-184; Hölzel L, Härter M, Reese C, et al. Risk factors for chronic depression—a systematic review. J Affect Disord 2011;129(1-3):1-13; Murphy JA, Byrne GJ. Prevalence and correlates of the proposed DSM-5 diagnosis of chronic depressive disorder. J Affective Disord 2012;doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.01.033
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD Regional Chief Medical Officer, Southeast/Central Region, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Medical illnesses can mimic depression, and chronic depression can worsen health too.
  • Chronic depression is treatable, and attention must also be given to the conditions that accompany it.

Chronic depression is depression that has lasted at least two years. Often, it comes with other health problems that can be there before the depression. They helped set the stage for it. Other conditions linked with chronic depression result from the bad effects of depression.

Who does it affect?

Depression is more likely to last when a person lacks social supports. Childhood issues or trauma, lower education, and lower or loss of financial rank are risk factors. Poor health or a family history of people with mood disorders is also linked with chronic depression. People who most often focus on the bad side of things are more likely to have it. Loss of a loved one is one more major cause of long-lasting depression.

People with chronic depression have a higher chance of suicidal thoughts and actions. 

Chronic depression also is linked with drinking too much and using other drugs. For some people, alcohol or drugs fights off low moods for a short time. Drug and alcohol use can worsen depression. It can also add to the chance of taking one's own life.

Personality disorders and other health issues

Personality disorders are self-defeating ways of dealing with stressful events or with other people. The disorders are seen often in those with chronic depression. Some doctors believe that the personality disorders make someone more likely to feel unhappy. Others believe that the bad habits of a personality disorder can result from the effects of feeling down. Depression makes a person less patient. It can also make him touchier, less active, more dependent, and more anxious and fearful. Any of these signs can look like a personality disorder, but can often get better if depression is treated.

When you mix depression, anxiety and drug use, it is clear why those with chronic low mood also have more trouble with others. They end their marriage with spouses more often than people without it. They also have trouble at work. Missed days and days of low effort are a costly feature.

Chronic depression is also linked with many serious health diseases. People with heart disease, anemia, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS or other serious health issues are more likely to get depressed. It can worsen health problems. Many of the health problems that are linked with chronic depression can be treated, improving low mood symptoms.

With good social supports, a healthy lifestyle, good health and care, talk therapy and medicine, most people get better and stay healthy. If you are feeling chronically depressed, please make sure that you talk about it with your doctor.

Resource

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
(800) 826-3632
www.dbsalliance.org

By James M. Ellison, MD, MPH
Source: Torpey DC, Klein DN. Chronic depression: Update on classification and treatment. Current Psychiatry Reports 2008;10:458-464; Gelenberg AJ, Kocsis JH, McCullough JP et al. The state of knowledge of chronic depression. J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(2):179-184; Hölzel L, Härter M, Reese C, et al. Risk factors for chronic depression—a systematic review. J Affect Disord 2011;129(1-3):1-13; Murphy JA, Byrne GJ. Prevalence and correlates of the proposed DSM-5 diagnosis of chronic depressive disorder. J Affective Disord 2012;doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.01.033
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD Regional Chief Medical Officer, Southeast/Central Region, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Medical illnesses can mimic depression, and chronic depression can worsen health too.
  • Chronic depression is treatable, and attention must also be given to the conditions that accompany it.

Chronic depression is depression that has lasted at least two years. Often, it comes with other health problems that can be there before the depression. They helped set the stage for it. Other conditions linked with chronic depression result from the bad effects of depression.

Who does it affect?

Depression is more likely to last when a person lacks social supports. Childhood issues or trauma, lower education, and lower or loss of financial rank are risk factors. Poor health or a family history of people with mood disorders is also linked with chronic depression. People who most often focus on the bad side of things are more likely to have it. Loss of a loved one is one more major cause of long-lasting depression.

People with chronic depression have a higher chance of suicidal thoughts and actions. 

Chronic depression also is linked with drinking too much and using other drugs. For some people, alcohol or drugs fights off low moods for a short time. Drug and alcohol use can worsen depression. It can also add to the chance of taking one's own life.

Personality disorders and other health issues

Personality disorders are self-defeating ways of dealing with stressful events or with other people. The disorders are seen often in those with chronic depression. Some doctors believe that the personality disorders make someone more likely to feel unhappy. Others believe that the bad habits of a personality disorder can result from the effects of feeling down. Depression makes a person less patient. It can also make him touchier, less active, more dependent, and more anxious and fearful. Any of these signs can look like a personality disorder, but can often get better if depression is treated.

When you mix depression, anxiety and drug use, it is clear why those with chronic low mood also have more trouble with others. They end their marriage with spouses more often than people without it. They also have trouble at work. Missed days and days of low effort are a costly feature.

Chronic depression is also linked with many serious health diseases. People with heart disease, anemia, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS or other serious health issues are more likely to get depressed. It can worsen health problems. Many of the health problems that are linked with chronic depression can be treated, improving low mood symptoms.

With good social supports, a healthy lifestyle, good health and care, talk therapy and medicine, most people get better and stay healthy. If you are feeling chronically depressed, please make sure that you talk about it with your doctor.

Resource

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
(800) 826-3632
www.dbsalliance.org

By James M. Ellison, MD, MPH
Source: Torpey DC, Klein DN. Chronic depression: Update on classification and treatment. Current Psychiatry Reports 2008;10:458-464; Gelenberg AJ, Kocsis JH, McCullough JP et al. The state of knowledge of chronic depression. J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(2):179-184; Hölzel L, Härter M, Reese C, et al. Risk factors for chronic depression—a systematic review. J Affect Disord 2011;129(1-3):1-13; Murphy JA, Byrne GJ. Prevalence and correlates of the proposed DSM-5 diagnosis of chronic depressive disorder. J Affective Disord 2012;doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.01.033
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD Regional Chief Medical Officer, Southeast/Central Region, Beacon Health Options

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