An older man stands in the kitchen holding a glass while thinking about the importance of managing depression in cardiac recovery.

Having a heart attack changes life immediately. What felt important prior to the health crisis suddenly fades into the background, while the main concern becomes helping the damaged heart to heal. Life is then full of adjusting to new medications, implementing dietary changes and an exercise regimen, following up with medical appointments and tests, all aimed at ensuring maximum physical health.

Yet it is incredibly important to pay special attention to managing depression in cardiac recovery. While tending to all of the new to-dos, feelings of fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and denial, among others, may settle in. It is easy to see how depression can manifest as well. In fact, heart problems and depression very often go hand in hand. Individuals with no history of depression are at risk to experience it after a heart condition, while people already dealing with depression are at a higher risk for heart problems.

Why Is Mental Health Decline Common After a Heart Attack?

Heart problems may cause an individual to experience many moods, including:

  • Guilt over lifestyle choices that may have triggered the problem
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Self-doubt and questions about self-identity
  • Embarrassment over the need for help
  • And others

These kinds of feelings lead to depression, which in turn affects the person’s ability to recover as fully from the heart attack, because they may:

  • Feel unmotivated to follow their doctor’s orders
  • Experience depression-related hormone changes that may cause arrhythmia
  • Develop especially sticky platelets that speed up hardening of the arteries
  • Choose to self-medicate through alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating, etc.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Assess to determine if any of these red flags of depression are present after a heart incident:

  • Helplessness or hopelessness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Reduced interest in once-loved activities
  • Changes to sleeping habits
  • Sluggishness or restlessness
  • Reduced interest in once-loved activities
  • Difficulty with memory, focusing, or decision-making

If depression is suspected, speak with the doctor immediately. Effective treatment options are available.

How Home Health Care Can Help

Recovering from a heart attack is challenging enough, but adding in the effects of depression can make it seem insurmountable. Home health care can help in a variety of ways with both physical and emotional recovery, with services such as:

  • Medication reminders to make certain meds are taken just as prescribed
  • Friendly companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Assistance with sticking to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Planning and preparing heart-healthy meals
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Trips to the grocery store as well as other errands
  • And more

Contact the professional team at Live Free Home Health Care at 603-217-0149 to request more resources to help someone with heart problems, depression, or any other chronic health issue, and to discover more about our home care services in New Hampton, Tilton, Epsom, and the surrounding areas.