Crippling depression and Osteoporosis: Are they connected?

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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

Crippling depression and Osteoporosis: Are they connected?

In this blog we will discuss the link between crippling depression and osteoporosis.

We will also briefly discuss what you can do if you have depression due to chronic illnesses like osteoporosis. 

Crippling depression and Osteoporosis: Are they connected?

Yes, chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis are linked to psychological disorders such as depression due to the psychological stress-associated with this disease. 

Researchers estimate that depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness such as osteoporosis and that one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition have exhibited symptoms of depression.

Chronic illnesses can become a limiting factor in an individual life and cost the person’s 

mobility (ability to move) and independence, change the way they live, see themselves and also impact their relationships. 

This can cause a lot of stress and emotional distress caused by a sense of despair or sadness. When there is a lack of support when someone with this chronic illness is faced with stress and hopelessness, it can lead to experiences of depression. 

On the other hand, it is also possible that depression related lifestyle and depression medications could be linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis for at-risk populations. 

According to a 2009 review, that has assessed the various  endocrine and immune alterations related to depression that impacts bone mass, researchers assessed the potential impact of lifestyle and antidepressants in the aetiology of osteoporosis.

Researchers have found that it is possible that depression related medication and lifestyles does aggravate the development of osteoporosis and that osteoporosis and living with the condition only makes depression worse. 

Osteoporosis refers to a disease that weakens bones causing greater risk of unexpected bone fractures in the hip, wrist, and spine due to less bone mass and strength. 

Cleveland Clinic estimates that about 200 million people are estimated to have osteoporosis throughout the world and it is more likely in women than men. 

This disease affects the older adults with an onset around the age of 50 and it is one of the major geriatric diseases that can cause intense psychological distress and lifelong limitations in mobility and independence in older adults  due to the higher risk of fractures.

Another 2019 review that assesses the possible role of psychological stress-associated mental health disorders as risk factors for the development of osteoporosis,noted that the studies that link osteoporosis to chronic psychological stress is limited. 

However, researchers concluded that there is “..potential for cross-effects of therapeutics for osteoporosis and mental health disorders.” meaning that treatment for psychological disorders could potentially increase the risk of osteoporosis for at risk populations.

What to do if you have depression due to osteoporosis?

Here are a few things that you can do if you are experiencing depression due to a vasectomy:

Talk to your doctor

The first thing that you can do if you have depression that is hampering your quality of life is to go see your doctor.

If you are at risk of osteoporosis or if you have depression due to your chronic illness of osteoporosis, it is important to discuss it with your doctor so that they can direct you to the care that is needed.

Usually when you meet your doctor, they will do a general assessment and direct you to a psychiatrist or give you the medication you need as well as refer you to a therapist. 

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms as honestly as possible and work with them to come up with a treatment plan with them.

When they prescribe you medication, make an effort to give them feedback as often as possible about the dosage and the side effects as well to ensure effective treatment. 

Crippling depression and Osteoporosis: Are they connected?

Seek out  professional help

We also advise you to seek out professional help immediately since depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. 

There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition. 

Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person. 

Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.

Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time. 

Educate yourself on the disorder

It is very important that you educate yourself about your condition. Your doctor or psychiatrist might give you some materials however, it is also important that you do some independent study on your own too. 

You can consider reading materials online or talking to your therapist in more depth as well as joining seminars and group meetings to learn about the disorder as well as the various things that you can do to manage depression. 

Actively seek positive experiences

According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being. For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.

Take active action to seek out these positive experiences in your day to day life. Even if you do not want to, even if your body is refusing to- take that chance for yourself and choose to do something that makes you feel less miserable. 

This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.

Focus on self-care

While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things. 

It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward. 

Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first. 

Once you feel like you are up for it, take time to seek out support from your friends, family, and loved ones. Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. 

Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them. 

Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships. 

You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself. 

Join a support group

Another thing you can do for yourself is to join a support group of people struggling with depression due to a medical issue so that you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other. 

By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed the link between crippling depression and osteoporosis.

We have also briefly discussed what you can do if you have depression due to chronic illnesses like osteoporosis. 

FAQ related to crippling depression osteoporosis

How does depression affect bones?

Depression in adults has been linked to reduced bone density (BMD) leading to higher risks of osteoporosis, and increased incidence of fractures. Research suggests that it could be related to depression related lifestyle choices as well as due to antidepressants. 

Does depression cause weak bones?

Yes, chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis are linked to psychological disorders such as depression due to the psychological stress-associated with this disease. 

Researchers estimate that depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness such as osteoporosis and that one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition have exhibited symptoms of depression.

How does osteoporosis affect you emotionally?

Chronic illnesses like osteoporosis can become a limiting factor in an individual life and cost the person’s 

mobility (ability to move) and independence, change the way they live, see themselves and also impact their relationships. 

This can cause a lot of stress and emotional distress caused by a sense of despair or sadness. When there is a lack of support when someone with this chronic illness is faced with stress and hopelessness, it can lead to experiences of depression.

How does serotonin affect bone health?

Researchers believe that serotonin exerts a positive effect on bone mass by enhancing bone formation and limiting bone resorption, thus decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis if the individual has normal or healthy levels of serotonin production.

What to do if you have depression?

Seek out professional help immediately since depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition. 

Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person. 

Does stress affect bone healing?

Yes, stress does negatively impact and slows down bone healing since high levels of cortisol block your osteoblasts — bone-building cells — thus, shuts your body’s mechanism in creating new bone.

References

Cizza, G., Primma, S., & Csako, G. (2009). Depression as a risk factor for osteoporosis. Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM, 20(8), 367–373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2009.05.003

Kelly, R. R., McDonald, L. T., Jensen, N. R., Sidles, S. J., & LaRue, A. C. (2019). Impacts of Psychological Stress on Osteoporosis: Clinical Implications and Treatment Interactions. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 200. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00200

Osteoporosis. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved on 17th April 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4443-osteoporosis