Posted on Jul 28, 2013

Scientists know that depression can make a person more susceptible to disease and disability. A European study has found that depression may also affect one’s ability to continue to work after being diagnosed with a disability.

Arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans and is a leading cause of disability worldwide. In Europe, osteoarthritis accounts for half of absences from work and 60 percent of early withdrawal from the workforce.

Doctors at the German Rheumatism Research Centre in Berlin studied how factors like depression, cardiovascular (heart) disease, pulmonary (lung) disease, or metabolic disorders such as diabetes affect one’s ability to remain in the workforce after diagnosis with arthritis.

The study consisted of 537 patients with arthritis. The scientists surveyed the patients about depression and medical problems. The patients were interviewed one year later.

Patients who initially said they had “little pleasure or interest in doing things most of the days during the past 2 weeks” were significantly more likely to have left the workforce or to have considered leaving the workforce than patients with heart disease, lung disease or diabetes. After one year in the study, 21% of patients with indicators of moderate depression and 45% of those with indicators of severe depression had considered leaving or had actually left the workforce.

The study was presented on June 13, 2013 at EULAR 2013, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism.

If arthritis is making it hard for you to continue working, you may want to apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). When you apply, let the Social Security Administration know about all your medical problems, including depression. The SSA must look at your complete health picture when making a decision. For more tips about applying for SSDI, request a free copy of our book, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case or contact an Omaha disability lawyer at Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405.

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Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska