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Coping with depression.

Living with myasthenia gravis can be hard at times. Flare-ups may happen without a warning. You may feel very weak and tired. And you may worry about keeping up with your daily tasks and goals. This can lead to depression.

Depression is serious and may be disabling. It can affect every part of your life, including how you manage your condition. So, getting help for depression is just as important as managing your myasthenia gravis. Depression can also be a side effect of some medications used to treat myasthenia gravis like steroids to relieve flare-ups.

Getting help starts with learning about depression. Know your risks and what signs to watch for. Ask your doctor about treatment options. Talk to your family and friends, your health care team and your local myasthenia gravis support groups.

Depression facts

Depression is common in patients with chronic conditions like myasthenia gravis. But it is often misunderstood. Feeling sad and depressed are not the same. Everyone may feel sad at some point. But, sadness gets better with time until you feel like yourself again. Depression doesn’t go away or improve on its own. Sometimes depression comes on so slowly you don’t even know you are depressed. And depression lasts a lot longer than sadness.

You may be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder if you have five or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks in a row. You may notice:

  • Feeling depressed for most of the day, every day or almost every day
  • Losing interest or pleasure in all or most activities you used to enjoy
  • A major change in weight or appetite
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling anxious or upset
  • Feeling very tired and “blah” every day or almost every day
  • Feeling like you’re worthless
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thinking about death or suicide


Some people avoid getting help. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or just don’t have the energy. The good news is many treatments are available to treat depression. These include support groups, counseling and medications called antidepressants.

Many types of antidepressants are available. They work on different chemicals in your brain. It usually takes a few weeks until you notice a change. Sometimes, you need to try different ones until you find the one that works best for you. So, be patient and work with your health care team.

Combating depression

Depression can affect your daily life. Know your risks, be on the lookout for symptoms and seek treatment right away. Here are other steps you can take to help fight depression:

  • Exercise. Staying active releases “feel good” chemicals in your body. Try yoga and walking. Swimming and water exercises are good options for heat-sensitive people. Ask your doctor which activities may be right for you.
  • Cope with stress. Stress can trigger and worsen myasthenia gravis symptoms, including depression. Massage, meditation, support groups and seeing a counselor may help you cope with stress.
  • Volunteer. Helping people can lift your spirits.
  • Talk about your feelings. Sharing your feelings with family, friends and other people living with myasthenia gravis may help improve your mood.
  • Keep a journal. Writing is a safe way to let go of negative feelings and emotions.
  • Treat yourself. Get a massage, read a new book, or enjoy a dinner out. These are all small rewards that can make you feel good.
  • Laugh. Spend time with a funny friend, see a comedy show, or rent your favorite comedy movie.

Family and friends

Your family and friends may feel unsure how to help with depression. But, they should be involved. Friends and family can:

  • Encourage you to get treatment
  • Point out the changes they see
  • Go to counseling or support group visits with you
  • Show their love and include you in social activities
  • Help you stay on track with your medications and watch for side effects
  • Take care of your emotional health

We’re here to help

Living with myasthenia gravis can be challenging. Your CVS Specialty® CareTeam is here to answer your questions. They can also connect you with resources to help combat depression. If you want to learn more about your condition or treatment, talk to your doctor or contact your CareTeam.

CVS Specialty® and Coram® CVS Specialty Infusion Services (Coram) work together to dispense and administer Myasthenia Gravis’s therapy to patients. To learn more about how Coram is keeping you safe and healthy at home during infusion treatments, click here.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about your medical condition and prior to starting any new treatment. CVS Specialty assumes no liability whatsoever for the information provided or for any diagnosis or treatment made as a result.