“Depression decreases a person’s ability to analyze stress and respond to it rationally,” said Dr. Mirrors. “You end up in a vicious circle with limited ability to get out of a negative state of mind.”
Inappropriate anxiety and depression can potentially make the situation worse, and they often coexist, leaving people vulnerable to a range of physical ailments and an inability to accept and persevere the necessary therapy.
A study of 1,204 elderly Korean men and women originally screened for depression and anxiety found that these emotional disorders increased the risk of physical disorders and disabilities two years later. Anxiety alone has been linked to heart disease, depression alone to asthma, and both together with visual disturbances, persistent cough, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems.
Treatment can counteract emotional stress
Although persistent anxiety and depression are well treatable with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and talk therapy, these conditions tend to get worse without treatment. According to Dr. John Frownfelter, treating any disease works better when clinicians “understand the pressures the patient is facing that affects their behavior and leads to clinical harm.”
Dr. Frownfelter is an internist and chief medical officer of a start-up called Jvion. The organization uses artificial intelligence to identify not only medical factors, but also psychological, social, and behavioral factors that can affect the effectiveness of treatment on patient health. Their goal is to promote more holistic approaches to treatment that appeal to the entire patient, body and mind together.
The analyzes used by Jvion, a Hindi word for life-giving, could alert a doctor if underlying depression could interfere with the effectiveness of prescribed treatments for another condition. For example, patients being treated for diabetes and feeling hopeless may not get better because they only use their prescribed medication sporadically and are not following a proper diet, said Dr. Frownfelter.
“We often speak of depression as a complication of chronic illness,” wrote Dr. Frownfelter in Medpage Today in July. “But what we don’t talk about enough is how depression can lead to chronic illness. Patients with depression may not have the motivation to exercise regularly or prepare healthy meals. Many also have difficulty getting enough sleep. “