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Cardiac Surgery and Depression: How to Understand the Link

Experiencing any kind of cardiac surgery can feel overwhelming and scary. Understanding that you have a heart condition is nothing to take lightly. But, even after surgery without complications, you may be at risk for depression.

Understanding the link between cardiac surgery and depression can make it easier for you to manage your symptoms.

The recovery process is about more than just physical healing. It’s about managing your mood and healing emotionally, too.

With that in mind, let’s look at how cardiac surgery and depression are connected, and what you can do about it.

Dealing With Depression Before Surgery

Heart disease and depression often go hand-in-hand for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been told you have a heart condition, it’s normal for your mind to start wandering. You might start questioning your own mortality, who will take care of your family, how much longer you might have to live, etc.

Before surgery, that stress doesn’t necessarily go away. You could worry about getting back to work, or wonder how you’ll feel after the surgery.

All of these anxious thoughts can create a springboard for how you might feel once your surgery is done.

Even after successful surgery, not everyone experiences a positive outlook. Plus, when you’re so focused on physical healing, it’s easy to neglect your emotions and mental health. Because of this, up to 25% of people who undergo cardiac surgery experience depression.

Boosting Your Mental Health During Recovery

To help combat the possible risks of cardiac surgery and depression, it’s important to have a plan in place ahead of time. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. In some cases, they may prescribe you medication to help with the state of your mental health as you recover.

There are things you can do to help yourself along the way, too. Maintaining positivity throughout your recovery is a great way to battle feelings of depression. Set goals for yourself, and celebrate when you’ve achieved them. Be happy with the small milestones of recovery, and give yourself realistic expectations.

It’s important to create as many healthy habits as possible as you recover. Set a specific time to wake up and go to bed. Exercise lightly (as approved by your doctor), and eat a healthy, nutritious diet.

A daily routine can make these healthy habits easier to stick to since it allows you to time to take care of your mental health each day.

Getting the Help You Need

If you’re feeling depressed after cardiac surgery, you’re not alone. You don’t need to feel ashamed or defeated when it comes to asking for help. Chances are, you still have a dozen concerns and thoughts whirling around your head. You don’t have to keep them all inside. Doing so can make things worse.

Friends or family members can offer a lot of support when it comes to cardiac surgery and depression. Having someone to talk to about the way you’re feeling often makes a big difference.

Yet, if you still find yourself struggling, you may benefit from professional help.

The depression you’re experiencing after cardiac surgery doesn’t have to completely take over your life. Just as you’ll heal physically, you can heal mentally and emotionally as well. But, it may take some help and some time.

If you recently had cardiac surgery and now you’re struggling with feelings of depression, please contact me. Or, visit here to learn more.

Your emotional health is more important than ever. Feeling good mentally will make it easier to focus on getting your body back to feeling good. When you’re able to do that, you can move on with your life faster, and in better overall health.