Ways to overcome depression after heart attack
There is no denying that heart attack, minor or severe, can take a severe toll on a patient and their caregivers. Such a close encounter with death can lower a patient’s confidence and leave them feeling fearful about the future. Studies have corroborated that depression and heart attack have a strong correlation and both can lead to each other. According to a medical journal, 20% of people who have a heart attack, suffer through depression post the attack. The signs of depression are subtle and often unnoticed. The temporary feeling of sadness in the patient is expected but in many cases, this sadness often snowballs to depression putting the patient at the same risks they should have been avoiding. Read along to find out how to overcome depression after a heart attack.
- Eat a healthy diet – It is suggested that gluten, caffeine and fat can increase stress-related hormones. One should avoid such food items and rather adopt a healthy balanced diet. Onions, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, avocados are really helpful for both your body and mind unless you have an allergy. Your doctor can advise on the correct diet.
- Join a support group- The main objective of a support group is to help the individual find a trustable circle where they can share thoughts freely and garner emotional support by interacting with individuals who have overcome similar problems in the past. Support groups help people in quitting unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking, which is crucial for the recovery process.
- Set a routine – One of the most common and effective ways to deal with depression is to set a routine. Getting back to one’s routine after a heart attack will not only uplift a patient’s mood but also reinforce their will to live and survive. One can start by setting small goals about their daily tasks and the joy after completing the set goals will create a positive feedback loop. But the patient should not be involved in any activity that stresses their mind or body heavily.
- Brisk walking – Regular exercise is a tried and tested way to fight depression. Exercise releases dopamine, which is also known as the happy hormone. It helps in elevating the mood of the person. For the initial recovery process after a heart attack, it is advised to take up brisk walking, as it doesn’t strain the body too much. More exercises can be taken up later, after consulting a doctor.
- Proper psychiatric treatment- Often precautionary actions to prevent or deal with depression might not be enough. If the patient has a past history of clinical depression, it is best advised to seek professional help. A trained and experienced psychiatrist can help in timely and efficient rehabilitation via therapy sessions or medication. Medication should always be taken after consulting a doctor, as some anti-depressants can cause high blood pressure or elevated heart rate, which is not advisable for heart patients.