Gout and Depression
Gout is a frustrating medical condition to handle. Your symptoms can come on suddenly and without warning, completely disrupting your work, relationships and overall well-being. When one flare ends, you begin waiting for the next episode to begin. In some cases, you are afraid to make plans or schedule activities because your gout may hold you back. You worry that your acute gout will develop into chronic gout or that your chronic gout will become more widespread and debilitating.
With the aggravation associated with gout, your mental health is at risk. The relationship between gout and depression is a serious one, as, over time, you may experience symptoms of depression and anxiety due to prolonged exposure to stress. Likely symptoms include lower mood, higher levels of frustration and irritability, intense worry, changes in sleeping and energy level.
Gout and Depression Prevention
With poor mental health, your gout could worsen. Working to be active and preventative as soon as possible will help ensure your mental health will be safe. You may not be able to prevent gout, but you can protect your mental health. Here’s how:
- Get educated. Becoming an expert about gout means that you are armed with the needed information to reduce symptoms and flares. Consult with your doctor and trusted online sources. Learn what diet and lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health. Increased education can also help to improve your self-esteem and identity by normalizing your situation.
- Get physically healthy. Gout is very responsive to your physical health. What are you eating and drinking? How much exercise are you getting on a weekly basis? Losing weight, drinking less beer and increasing exercise can help improve gout symptoms. When it comes to diet changes, focus on quality of food as well as quantity. Eating less does not create health. Eating more nutritiously rich food will help make your weight loss goals more successful as you will not feel deprived.
- Get mentally healthy. Symptoms of depression or anxiety can make accomplishing the previous step much more difficult. Work to focus on the positive aspects of your life while being realistic about your medical condition. Consider making a daily list of good aspects of your life. If mood, motivation and energy levels have been very low or if worry has been high, consult a mental health professional. A therapist can assist in addressing your goals and increase odds of success.
- Get supports. No one can accomplish a complex goal individually. Recruit others in your life to fulfill needs. Need help going for your daily walk? Enlist a friend. Need help finding the positives in life when symptoms are soaring? Ask a coworker for assistance. If you are feeling that resources do not exist for you, seek out online or in-person support groups. So many options are offered for those that investigate.
- Have fun. Chronic gout may have you feeling limited and restricted. Changing the way you think about your condition and yourself drastically changes the way you feel. Focusing on the fun activities and events that are available will get you in a more optimistic place.
Gout is a chronic medical condition filled with changing symptoms and expectations. If you always expect flares to get in the way, they will. Be open and realistic about your condition to know when to stay back and when to push forward. Your physical health and mental well-being depend on it.