I recently attended a very inspiring event “Lupus warriors getting together” organized by Andreas gift held at the Life-changers church in Tableview. The event was aimed at raising awareness about Depression among Lupus patients and their family/friends. Andreas gift was started by Andreas family following her tragic demise from Lupus related complication. The organization relies on sponsorships to create a beautiful clutch bag with some much-needed toiletry items for Lupus patients seeking medical care in the public and private sector. This event was yet another part of their initiative to empower Lupus patients and their families about depression and to destigmatize this disease.
Numerous studies provide evidence to the fact that people with chronic diseases are more likely to suffer from depression. Chronic diseases include heart disease, chronic lung conditions, diabetes, cancer and arthritic illnesses. It is important to be aware of risk factors that could predispose to depression as well as the signs and symptoms of this disorder so an individual or their family/friends can get the help they need early in the disease.

Here’s a look at some of the risk factors for mental health diseases and chronic disorders (CDC fact sheet):

What are the signs and symptoms of depression that we need to look out for?

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.  In children and adolescents, this can also be an irritable mood.
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities, nearly every day
  3. Significant unintentional weight loss or weight gain
  4. Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping nearly
  5. Slowing down or agitation of thought and physical movement (noticed by others also)
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  8. Decreased ability to focus and complete tasks
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation

The symptoms identified above causes significant distress in the person’s social, work and other important areas of functioning.  In the case of patients where the depressive disorder is due to their medical condition, there is also some evidence based on the history, examination and laboratory findings that suggest the symptoms are related to their condition.  

It is important for patients with chronic medical conditions to also be screened for mental health disorders during their regular check-ups.  Should you be concerned about depression for yourself or an affected family member, please contact us at Blouberg Family Practice or make an online appointment for an assessment.