It’s important not to isolate yourself when dealing with a chronic wound.

Having a wound can be an emotional ordeal, especially if it’s a chronic condition. Wound healing can be slow and painful, hindering movement and making it difficult to enjoy things that you once loved to do. Many surgical wounds are painful products of a battle that you’ve fought against an illness. Depression is common in people suffering from wounds. Though this condition is far from rare, it’s important to take care of yourself while suffering from wounds and depression, as it can hinder wound healing.

Wound healing isn’t all physical. Though wounds are a physical ailment, the rate at which they heal has been linked to the patient’s general attitude toward life. Studies have found that diabetic foot ulcers tend to be more severe in patients who also regularly feel depressed, and that patients who rank higher on the Geriatric Depression Scale have slower healing rates. Also, depressed diabetic patients have a higher rate of recurrence of ulcers.

One study done over 24 weeks found that diabetic patients who were unable to cope with their ailment and showed signs of depression had significantly less improvement in their ulcer than people who didn’t. Multiple studies have found strong correlations between mental distress and delayed healing of oral, skin and ulcerating wounds.

What contributes to wound-related depression?

Many people with severe or chronic wounds are adjusting to big life changes. They may worry about the finances associated with caring for their wound. They may dwell on the changes to their quality of life, reduced mobility, or changes to their body image. They may feel less independent, feeling like a burden on their family or caregivers. If they were working before they acquired the wound, they may be worried about losing their job and the cost of their wound care.

How to fight wound-related depression

Be sure to stay social. If your mobility isn’t too reduced, continue attending as many of your favorite social activities as you can. If your mobility is limited, don’t feel any qualms about asking friends and family to come and visit you. If they seem to be isolating you, they may know that you’re recovering and don’t want to seem intrusive. If you’re feeling up to visitors, be sure to tell them.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.