Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
The intersection of depression and chronic illness.pdf (168.13 kB)

The intersection of depression and chronic illness

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-15, 10:50 authored by Ola M Michalec

Depression is a complex illness that significantly contributes to the global burden of disease. The two main symptoms are depressed mood and anhedonia; however, depression can manifest with a wide range of psychological, behavioural, and physical symptoms. This diversity of symptoms, as well as the reluctance of many patients to reveal their depressed feelings, can make it difficult for healthcare practitioners to diagnose. Depression is especially common in patients with chronic physical illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus (DM), as the management regimen for DM is complex and usually involves significant lifestyle changes. Having one or more chronic illnesses is the greatest risk factor for depression, and having depression is also a major risk factor for developing those physical illnesses. Importantly, depression is largely treatable as there are many management options available to patients, including psychotherapy, pharmacological treatments, electroconvulsive therapy, and community support groups. However, despite the wide range of treatments, increasing awareness of the prevalence of depression and how it can negatively impact patient health when comorbid with other illnesses increases the efficacy of primary care interactions and allows healthcare organisations and policies to better address the issue. This can increase diagnostic rates and ultimately strengthen the amount of support provided to such patients. 



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection:

Published Citation

Michalec OM. The intersection of depression and chronic illness. RCSIsmj. 2019;12(1):91-95

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  • Undergraduate Research


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


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