Published on June 12, 2023

How to Manage the Mental Health Effects and Practicalities of Arthritis

Living with arthritis can be challenging, both physically and mentally. While the physical symptoms of joint pain and stiffness are difficult enough to manage, the impact on mental health is also not to be underestimated. After all, chronic pain can lead to withdrawal from social activities, depression, and anxiety. 

It is important to address both aspects of arthritis in order to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. In this blog post, we will explore practical strategies to effectively manage the mental health effects of arthritis. Whether you or a loved one is living with arthritis, these tips can be useful in maintaining mental and physical well-being. 

Learn More About The Impact of Arthritis on Your Mental Health

Given the fact that, according to the CDC, 1 in 5 US adults with arthritis suffer from anxiety or depression, it is important to understand the potential impact on your mental health. 

The chronic or acute pain you experience and the limited mobility can lead to frustration and depressive episodes. This condition can also affect your ability to engage in your favorite activities or connect with loved ones, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. If left unaddressed, arthritis can also lead to disability and prevent you from being productive at work, which can affect your employment status and finances. 

Ultimately, understanding what challenges you’ll face can help you be prepared, accept your diagnosis, and work to maintain a high quality of life. 

Know What To Expect: Knee Arthritis Can Seriously Affect Day to Day Life

If you have been diagnosed with knee arthritis, the first step to take is to learn more about this condition, its symptoms, complications, and prognosis. Additionally, educating yourself on the different treatment options available can help you choose an approach that is suitable for your goals. 

For example, alternatives such as viscosupplementation, lifestyle modifications, and massage therapies can slow down the progression of arthritis and prevent the need for surgery. Given the fact that arthritis can seriously affect your life, education is key to managing this disease. 

Remain Physically Active 

One of the best ways to boost your mental health if you have arthritis or chronic knee pain is to remain physically active. Regular exercise can help reduce inflammation, improve joint mobility, and prevent muscle weakness. 

Consider low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, or walking, which can be easier on your joints while still providing numerous health benefits. Mind-body activities like yoga and tai chi can also help you ease feelings of anxiety and depression while improving your strength, balance, and flexibility. 

Engage in Social Activities

Engaging in social activities can have a positive impact on your mental health, especially if you have arthritis. When you connect with others who understand what you are going through, it can provide a sense of support and camaraderie. 

Some examples of social activities include joining a support group, attending community events, or volunteering for a cause you care about.

Work With an Occupational Therapist To Keep Up Your Hobbies

If you are struggling to engage in hobbies that you used to love due to arthritis, working with an occupational therapist can be a great way to get back on track. Occupational therapists are trained to help people living with chronic pain or illness maintain their independence and quality of life. 

They can provide personalized solutions and adaptations that will allow you to continue enjoying your hobbies with minimized discomfort. Healthcare providers may also be able to provide you with assistive devices that can increase your safety and comfort in your daily life. 

Maintain a Structured Daily Routine 

To boost your mental health with arthritis, it’s essential to maintain a structured daily routine. Start by waking up at the same time each day and following a consistent schedule for meals, exercise, and leisure activities. 

Having a routine will help you feel organized and in control, which can reduce anxiety and improve your overall mood.

Consult a Specialized Psychologist 

Although the tips above may improve your mood and ease depression, sometimes you’ll need to rely on the help of an expert. That’s why, if you are struggling with your mental health due to arthritis, it may be helpful to consult a specialized psychologist. The guidance of a specialist may prove invaluable – don’t be afraid to ask for help!

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