Depression Related Conditions Heart Disease Treatment

Experiencing a heart attack or receiving a heart disease diagnosis can be traumatic. A heart disease diagnosis generally causes feelings of sadness or helplessness, although these feelings usually go away after a couple of weeks. If, however, you find your feelings of sadness and hopelessness to be unshakeable or if they interfere with your daily life, you may be clinically depressed.

It may be helpful to realize that you aren’t alone. The EmpowHER (2010) website reports that up to 15 percent of heart disease patients develop major depression. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (2006), this rate increases to 20 percent for those who have undergone bypass surgery. Heart disease patients are also up to three times more likely to be depressed than the general population, as reported by the American Psychiatric Association (2010).

Symptoms of Depression

Of all symptoms of depression, the most common is a prolonged, persistent state of sadness and hopelessness. Other symptoms of depression include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in formerly enjoyable activities
  • Low libido
  • Sleep problems
  •  Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Weight loss or gain.

If you have heart disease and you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms of depression, seek help immediately.

Prevent Heart Disease and Depression

While it’s not always possible to prevent heart disease and depression, you can take measures to reduce your risk of potentially fatal heart attacks, such as:

  • Consult your doctor/dietitian for appropriate diet guidelines.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep on a regular basis.
  • Take your prescribed medication for any health condition you have.

How to Reverse Heart Disease and Depression

Certain antidepressants may treat symptoms of depression without interfering with heart disease medications. Most SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants, such as Prozac® and Paxil®, are effective, especially when combined with therapy. Since depression is strongly linked to worsening heart disease symptoms and a high risk of recurring cardiac problems, treat depression as early as possible.

In addition to medication and therapy, managing your stress level can do wonders to reduce your symptoms of depression and reverse heart disease. Stress management techniques may reduce your daily stress and help prevent heart disease.

Finally, if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, talk to your doctor about whether you’ll need heart surgery or other interventional treatments.

Resources

Alspaugh, L. (2009). Depression and heart disease. Retrieved June 24, 2010, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/14351-depression-and-heart-disease/.

American Psychological Association. (2010). Mind/body health: Heart disease. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/heart-disease.aspx.

Croft, H. (2010). Co-occurrence of depression with heart disease. Retrieved June 24, 2010, from http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/nimh/co-occurrence-of-depression-with-heart-disease/menu-id-1419/.

Jones, C. (2010). The link between obesity, depression and heart disease. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.empowher.com/heart-amp-blood/content/link-between-obesity-depression-and-heart-disease.

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2006). Depression after heart bypass doubles the risk of death from heart problems, according to new study. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/depression_heart_bypass.htm.