Mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health. Depression and anxiety are common in women with PCOS, but are often overlooked and therefore left untreated. Approximately 34% of women with PCOS have depression compared to 7% of women in the general population and around 45% have anxiety, compared to only 18% of the general population. It has also been shown that the longer it takes to receive a diagnosis of PCOS, the more likely women are to be depressed or anxious.
Depression and anxiety can impact on your quality of life in several ways:
- Physically – by disrupting your eating and sleeping patterns
- Psychologically – by reducing your motivation and increasing feelings of worthlessness
- Socially – by affecting your relationships
Research shows experiencing the symptoms of PCOS, including excess hair growth, hair loss, acne, weight changes and fertility problems, can negatively affect mood, self–confidence and body image.
Reduced or poor mental and emotional health can make it difficult to look after yourself, follow a healthy lifestyle and make the best decisions about your health. Awareness of the effects of mood on managing lifestyle is the key to managing PCOS.
What affects your emotional health?
There are many factors that influence emotional health, including:
- Having a chronic disease like PCOS, where there are physical and psychological changes
- Lifestyle and stress
- Genes, personality and thinking
- Self esteem
- Body image
- Relationships, family and friends
- Experiences, your sense of purpose and your coping styles
Reactions to diagnosis
Being diagnosed with a chronic disease like PCOS can generate a range of feelings and emotions, often these are similar to a grief reaction. Not everyone will experience these feelings and, in no particular order, the reactions can be: