Living with a chronic disease such as familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP) can be overwhelming. The symptoms of FAP, which may include cardiac impairment, infection, extreme weight loss, muscle wasting, and severe peripheral neuropathy, can significantly affect your quality of life and may even lead to depression.
The following is information about depression and its signs and symptoms. If you or a family member or caregiver are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be very helpful to see a doctor and/or join a support group or seek other therapies.
Clinicians and researchers note that all cases of depression, from mild to severe, can be treated.
What is depression?
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It affects how you feel, think, and manage your daily activities and interactions, and can impair your ability to sleep, eat, work, and socialize. Current research suggests that a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors can cause depression. Dealing with a chronic disease like FAP also can be a factor in causing depression.
Depression and FAP
A 2020 observational quality of life study found that depression or anxiety was present in 57% of those with FAP symptoms.
Another study, from 2015, had shown that a high number of FAP patients have psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression.
Signs and symptoms
If you are experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly daily, for at least two weeks, you may have depression. Keep in mind that not everyone who has depression experiences every symptom. The severity, frequency, and duration of these symptoms depend on the individual.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty sleeping, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Aches or pains that exist without a clear cause that are not eased with treatment
Even the most severe cases of depression can be treated. A doctor who has experience in treating depression can help work out the best strategy. These include medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
Here are other tips that may help you during treatment for depression:
- Try to be as active as possible
- Get outside if feasible
- Set realistic goals for yourself
- Try to spend time with other people, and confide in a trusted friend or relative
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately
- Postpone important decisions until you feel better
In addition, massage therapy may help to lower the sense of stress that this disease can cause. So can recreational therapy, an activity-based treatment that may provide both physical and social benefits to people with FAP.
Support groups can help you feel less isolated and better able to cope with your symptoms. Participating in such groups, which can be done online as well as in person, give you the opportunity to be with others who likely understand your concerns and goals.
Last updated: Dec. 10, 2020
FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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