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Major illnesses, disability could lead to depression

Illness and disability may cause depression.  (photo by By Austin Ban)

Illness and disability may cause depression. (photo by By Austin Ban)

The effects of a major illness or disability can be devastating. The loss of an ability to move or function in a certain way takes enough of a toll on a human being, as we have seen with many of our clients who successfully apply and win disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

However, there may be an added effect for those with a major disability: depression.

The Tampa Bay Times spoke with Dr. Nick Dewan, a psychiatrist and medical director for behavioral health, who said they see the impact of depression on those who are disabled or ill every single day.

“Specialists like me see about a quarter of all cases, the ones that are more severe,” Dewan told the Times. “Most of the rest are handled by primary care docs. It’s so common to see depression in the face of illness that [we now have] social workers in primary care offices to create better access to mental health care.”

The more advanced an illness or disability is, the greater the chance there is of depression following. One report cited by the times found that 34 million of those 18 and older in the U.S., 17 percent of the adult population, suffered from depression in addition to a chronic health condition. About 25 percent of cancer patients develop depression, and approximately 33 percent of heart attack patients suffer from it.

No matter what disability or illness someone is suffering from, mental health cannot become an afterthought. It is important to seek treatment for the primary ailment, as well as SSA disability benefits if you cannot work, but don’t forget about mental health. If left untreated, the impact of depression can be life altering.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd. have successfully represented hundreds of clients suffering with depression receive their Social Security disability benefits. While this cannot be the last step to recovery, it may help with medical bills and could kickstart the road to recovery.