Suffering a heart attack, undergoing a cardiac crisis, or sometimes even simply being diagnosed with heart disease can trigger depression. Depression can not only endanger your emotional well-being, but also can endanger your health. Women with heart disease are so often found to be depressed that some consider it a risk factor for heart disease. But men are vulnerable to depression as well.
That depression can accompany heart disease is not surprising. After all, depression is related to the loss of self. Learning that you have heart disease can lead to grieving; grieving for not only your heart but also your sense of self-esteem. You may also fear the future.
You may have absorbed the idea, years ago, that heart disease is a death sentence, and you probably believe that deep down. You may have a parent or sibling who died of heart disease, and fear you will suffer the same fate.
Being depressed can magnify your worries, and make it more difficult for you to take steps needed to deal with heart disease. If you are a man, you may not want to admit you are scared or depressed. It is not 'macho' after all. A woman may prefer to suffer silently, not wishing to worry her family.
In many cases, the depression may be transitory, and taking action will make you feel better. But if you do not feel the cloud of despair lifting, and if you have any of the following 'danger' signs of depression, you should discuss this problem with your doctor immediately. Once upon a time, depression was seen as a sign of weakness, but that is no longer true today. It is now being viewed as a biological illness that can be successfully treated.
Signs of depression include:
- Sleep and appetite disturbances.
- Feeling your life is hopeless and not worth living.
- Feelings of fatigue or agitation not related to your physical condition.
- Loss of interest in your usual activities.
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions.
- Crying, especially in spontaneous spells.
- Suicidal thoughts.
What you can do is, when you are in the midst of depression, it may seem impossible that you will ever feel better. Contact your doctor for help. Depression can be treated.