Depression often coexists with other mental or physical conditions, referred to as “comorbidity”. Conditions that may be worsened by depression include substance use, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. 

A great deal of research in the field of “whole health” (also called “mind-body medicine” or “integrated health”), is currently underway to explore the relationship between depression and physical illnesses. Treating mood disorders can help people manage other illnesses and improve their general health.

Depression and:

Talk about your physical health with your psychiatrist or therapist and talk with your primary care doctor about your mental health. When asked how you are doing, let your doctor know the facts beyond “Fine.” Discuss the possibility of one illness worsening the other, and ask your doctor what steps you can take to prevent this.

Medication Interactions

Medications used to treat other illnesses may interfere with the medication you are taking for your depression—either increasing or decreasing the amount in your system. This can prevent the medication from being effective or cause more side effects. Be sure that all of your doctors and your pharmacist know about all of the medications you are taking so they can check for any interactions.

Be sure the medications you are taking do not:

  • Contribute to your mood disorder or make your moods less stable.
  • Have side effects that look like symptoms of mood disorders (confusion, aches, weight or sleep changes).
  • Interact with one another, which can change their effectiveness.
  • Always read the medication interaction information your doctor or pharmacist gives you.

Offer your family doctor, heart specialist or other physician materials about mood disorders from DBSA  to help them start discussions with you and other patients. Encourage your doctors to ask all of their patients whether they have symptoms of depression.

It is important to tell your doctor about all of the symptoms you are experiencing and all other illnesses for which you are receiving treatment.