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Sickle Cell and Depression

By David Woods


They say those who suffer from chronic illnesses such as sickle cell may be at risk for depression. According to the Sickle Cell Information Center (scinfo.org), “The day to day stresses associated with the illness may contribute to feelings of helplessness, a feeling of not being in control, and create a vulnerability to develop depressive symptoms”. The NHS (nhs.uk) even goes as far as stating that half of people living with the disease will experience depression at least once during their lives.


Having depression can also lead to “reckless behavior”, which only contributes to the negative aspects of the disease. Therefore, I believe that depression may actually be a contributing factor of Sickle Cell crises and complications. However, I also believe that if a person is treated for their depression and treated for their Sickle Cell, and the person eats a healthy vegan-like diet and maintains a healthy lifestyle, the amount of crisis’ a person may experience can be greatly reduced. 

By changing my lifestyle through self-awareness I am putting my body and life to the test to see if these changes actually provide a "cure". There’s nothing to lose, and with the right resources, anyone can combat depression.

What I know is that it takes not only a strong support system to help you get back on your feet, but it takes an inner strength to push forward in spite of this adversity. Sure there are going to be some depressing thoughts that may come to mind. In that case, my suggestion would be to seek out therapy from a licensed professional and actually sort these thoughts and feelings out. This is a part of your support system available to you. 

Being totally honest with yourself will be like having a burden of stress lifted off of you therefore making for less of a chance to undergo a pain crisis. How you may ask? By gaining understanding on certain matters and being able to accept these matters for what they are, knowing what is within your power to change and what is not. We can at the very least be somewhat prepared for life’s challenges that will come about associated with living a life with a “disability” and overcome them. 

Embrace the struggle you have because what you are going through someone may be wishing they could live a life with your struggle instead of the battles they are facing.


Written by David Woods | Reposted from original post.


Sources:

https://scinfo.org/problem-oriented-clinical-guidelines/specific-problems-depression

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Sickle-cell-anaemia/Pages/Complications.aspx

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