Depression and Chronic Medical Illness in Adults
The goal of this article is to help nurses provide quality care to patients with depression and chronic medical illness.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects more than 16 million adults in the United States each year and is a leading cause of disability for individuals ages 15 to 44. In middle-aged and older adults, depression becomes less prevalent, but a greater likelihood exists that it will become a chronic condition accompanied by other chronic health issues. Depression can negatively impact patients’ medical comorbidities and reduce quality and length of life. Although patients with chronic medical conditions are three times more likely to suffer from depression than those without other chronic health issues, depression assessment frequently is overlooked.
When nurses and healthcare providers understand depression’s etiology, symptoms, treatment options, and relationship with other chronic diseases and conditions, they’re better positioned to proactively help patients with this dual diagnosis.
Key Learning Outcomes
- Describe the etiology of depression.
- State the relationship between depression and chronic illness.
- Discuss the pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment of depression.
Susan J. Calloway, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, FAANP
Susan J. Calloway is a professor at Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock.
Rosalinda Jimenez, EdD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
Rosalinda Jimenez is an assistant professor at Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock.
Dianne Lavin, DNP, PsyD, PMHNP-BC, MPH
Dianne Lavin is an associate professor at Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock.