It is a well-known fact a person’s emotional state can directly impact their health. The same is also true in the reverse as the physical state can play havoc on mental health. In the case of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), depression is extremely likely.
Science Daily recently published a release showing severe chronic pain accompanied by progressive destruction, disability and disfigurement is known to increase the risk of experiencing emotional disturbances. For RA patients, they are doubly at risk.
The interrelationship between levels of depression symptoms, C-reactive protein (CRP) level and pain were studied by researchers at Nagoya City University and Nagoya University Graduate Schools of Medicine in Japan.
This team, led by Masayo Kojima, M.D., Ph.D., found that the inflammation and depression in RA patients each independently increased the likelihood of severe pain. The combined effects of high CRP levels and depression indicated the likelihood of severe pain would be even stronger.
“Results of our research demonstrate the potential for clinicians to improve pain control by addressing their patients’ psychological symptoms in addition to conducting anti-inflammation therapy,” stated Dr. Kojima, in Science Daily. “A clinical approach that takes into account both the body and the mind could have benefits and could enable optimal pain control.”
A second study completed by the University of British Columbia examined the role of spouse mood in the disability and disease course of RA patients. When higher levels of spouse depressive symptoms at the initial assessment were present, a worse disease was predicted for the partner with RA.
“Our findings highlight the key role played by the spouse in disease course of individuals with RA, and point to the importance of including the spouse in clinical interventions,” concluded the authors. “The mood and mental health of the marital partner or other key members of the family may be critically important to consider in developing more effective and evidence-based treatment for RA patients.”