Arthritis is a common condition involving inflammation of the joints. It has around 200 kinds which include various joint disorders and diseases. Depending on the type, a person can develop arthritis as they get past 30 or earlier than that. This condition can interfere with your daily life and take a toll on your mind. People living with it are vulnerable to emotional distress which may lead to problems like anxiety and depression. Whether you want to learn for yourself or for someone you know, read on to find out if arthritis is affecting your mental health.
Aside from symptoms such as physical pain, discomfort, and disability, arthritis can cause mental issues regardless of one’s psychological state. According to research, the impediment you get from having arthritis makes you feel negative emotions and think negative thoughts. Chronic stress because of not being able to do particular things disrupts your body’s balance–affects your mood by changing the levels of chemicals inside your brain and nervous system. Moreover, having other existing medical problems can also add to your burden.
Even though one may not be aware or may not care to know, the following indicate that they are experiencing significant mental distress with their arthritis.
- Irritability – being oversensitive; losing your temper over small stuff.
- Mood Change – e.g. feeling sad or hopeless when you used to be optimistic.
- Restlessness – you can’t stop thinking too much or thinking there’s always something you must do.
- Anxiety – excessive, sometimes irrational, worries fill your mind.
- Lack of Motivation – you lose interest in your usual activities, including work and hobbies.
- Inability to Focus – you can’t really concentrate on anything.
- Sleeping Difficulty – you’re unable to get enough sleep (you may not be able to sleep at all some nights).
- Depression – you feel empty and hopeless; you may start having suicidal thoughts or attempts.
What to Do About It
Before arthritis gets a chance to take over, get on the driver’s seat. Search for the right treatment. There are many specialists who can provide you the therapy you need to achieve arthritis recovery and psychological well-being. For instance, physical therapists will determine what’s appropriate for you including exercise, medicine, and surgery (if necessary) while counselors will help you deal with your mental health concerns. You may also try alternative treatments to see if it works for you. In addition, there are steps you can do to help yourself:
- Use herbs/herbal supplements – aloe vera, green tea, and ginger are only some of the herbs that are good for your arthritis. Make sure to get authentic, trusted ones.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin D and the right fatty acids – they reduce joint pain and support your bones.
- Do hot and cold therapy – warm baths or heating pads ease stiffness in your joints, while applying ice packs or a cold towel relieves joint pain.
- Try acupuncture – this ancient Chinese treatment supposed to reroute energies and restore balance in your body, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. It’s a well-known complementary therapy.
- Get a massage – according to the Arthritis Foundation, regular massage of arthritic joints can help reduce pain and stiffness and bring about improvement. Ask your physical therapist to teach you how to self-massage, or schedule regular appointments with a massage therapist.
- Relax and meditate – doing so reduces your stress in having arthritis. Research shows that meditation like mindfulness meditation, enables you to cope better.
Always consult your doctor or therapist first before you try anything.
Arthritis, though common, is serious. It requires proper attention. Just like any other condition, you need to handle it well. However, you shouldn’t let it take center stage. You or your loved one can still enjoy life and carry on with daily activities despite having arthritis. As long as you maintain a good mindset, stick to treatment, and follow the right lifestyle, you can keep thriving.
Can you relate? Share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear them!