How to Deal With Post Heart Attack Depression
Depression may follow a heart attack
After a heart attack, most people experience a whirlwind of emotions. On the one hand, a patient may be grateful to still be alive, but he may also feel frightened and anxious about the future. Will he be able to go back to his former lifestyle? Will he have another heart attack? He may also feel angry and upset about the unfairness of it all.
- Feelings of sadness and anger are natural after a catastrophic illness like a heart attack. Survivors need to go through the grieving process, which involves a certain amount of unhappiness. But when those feelings linger and start affecting a patient's recovery, it's cause for concern. As many as one out of three heart attack survivors report feeling depressed.
- Depression can sap a person's will to recover and make him less likely to follow his doctor's recommendations.
- Heart patients with depression are less likely to eat a heart-healthy diet, give up smoking, or exercise regularly.
- Worse yet, depressed heart patients have a greater risk of suffering future heart attacks.
The good news is that depression can be treated. With the appropriate care, a patient will lead a happier life -- and life will be easier for you, too. Here are some practical things you can do if you think a patient is depressed after a heart attack: