Segment 8 - Mental Health Illnesses and Other Chronic Conditions

The panelists discuss the complications associated with patients who have mental health illnesses and are also suffering with other chronic conditions.

The panelists discuss the complications associated with patients who have mental health illnesses and are also suffering with other chronic conditions. Wayne Katon, MD, pointed out that not only do conditions like heart attack, diabetes, and stroke cause depression, but depression and anxiety are risk factors for developing diabetes or heart disease.

“It’s a tremendous adjustment when you develop a chronic medical illness and if you have a problem like depression or anxiety,” he said. “It really impedes your ability to adapt to that medical illness.”

Paul Gionfriddo added that another complication is that treatment for mental illnesses are begin started in later stages, when the patients are more likely to have other complicating conditions and have already lost their social support system.