Feeling Depressed?

It’s fairly common to feel down after being diagnosed with coronary artery disease or having a heart attack or heart surgery. Still, most people say they start to feel more hopeful again once a treatment plan is in place and after they have a little time to adjust. If this isn’t the case, you may have depression that should be evaluated and treated.

Don’t Ignore Signs of Depression

Remember that depression isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a medical condition that may need to be treated. The good news is there are many treatments available.

There are many surveys and questionnaires that your health care provider can use to help determine if you are depressed. You can also start by asking yourself some questions. For example, are you:

  • Avoiding activities you usually enjoy?
  • Sleeping too much, or not sleeping well or at all?
  • Feeling more irritable than usual?
  • Overeating or have you lost your appetite?
  • Feeling unusually tired or zapped of energy?
  • Having trouble thinking, concentrating or making decisions?
  • Feeling less hopeful about the future?
  • Overcome with feelings of guilt or feel that you don’t have much worth?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, check in with your health care provider. These questions are based on criteria that health professionals use when deciding whether someone might be depressed.

If you or a loved one have, or have expressed, feelings of hurting yourself, please seek help and speak with your doctor immediately.

Finding a Counselor

To find a licensed psychologist near you, start by asking your physician or another health professional you trust for a recommendation. You might also want to ask friends and family members.

There are also professional groups that provide searchable tools and tips on how to choose a therapist.

The American Psychological Association

Anxiety and Depression Association of America
www.adaa.org

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org

For more about depression and heart disease, go to CardioSmart.org/Depression.

Featured Video

Recognizing and treating depression is important because it can slow down a heart patient's recovery and increase the risk of future coronary disease.