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Importance of Emotional Health During Cardiac Rehab


Importance of Emotional Health During Cardiac Rehab

Recovering from a heart problem means not only getting back your physical strength but also getting back your emotional and mental well-being. Having a positive outlook during your recovery and rehabilitation is necessary to help you recover physically, emotionally, and mentally. Remember that you are going to start feeling better very soon. You are working to get back to your normal life.

Will I feel depressed?

Nearly all people recovering or rehabilitating from a cardiac event experience some form of stress, depression, helplessness, or social isolation. You should be aware that these feelings are common for people who have heart problems. Often both you and your family and friends struggle with the idea of having a heart problem and the necessary changes you must make in your lifestyle to prevent future cardiac events.

The fatigue and pain you might be experiencing may make you depressed. You may:

  • Have mood swings.
  • Cry easily.
  • Feel afraid or anxious.
  • Get frustrated.
  • Be irritable.
  • Not be able to concentrate.
  • Have "good days" and "bad days."
  • Lose appetite.
  • Sleep too much or not enough.

What can I do to feel better mentally and avoid depression?

It can be important to keep your family and friends around you during your recovery. They can go on walks with you or just sit and chat. You should continue to be affectionate with your family and friends. Affectionate gestures can improve your mood and make you feel less lonely.

Both you and your loved ones should identify negative feelings and actively find ways to deal with them. Successfully dealing with negative feelings has been shown to have a helpful effect on your outlook, future risks, and the changes you need to make in your lifestyle.

A comprehensive cardiac rehab program will most likely include some form of psychological assessment to help determine your current psychological status and identify areas that need to be addressed. A program can offer support and education to help reduce the normal stresses associated with a cardiac event and hospitalization.

Simple techniques like deep breathing can help you relax and gain control of your situation. In some cases, medicines, psychotherapy, or spiritual counseling may help you deal with your mental state.

If you are depressed but active in dealing with these feelings, you will probably not continue to feel depressed after you are fully recovered.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRichard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last RevisedOctober 5, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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