Depression and Anxiety – Accompaniments of Cancer

download (1)Cancer walks in to a person’s life with multiple accompaniments. Depression and anxiety are common among cancer patients and their families. The first thing to remember is that feeling depressed and anxious is normal. Cancer is a life changing experience and these are normal responses to it.

Causes of Depression and Anxiety

A person diagnosed with cancer may feel depressed as his life goes through a major upheaval. A person may feel absence of control over happenings in life. The way a person handles his work and roles in family life may change all together. Dealing with body image, fear of recurrence, fear of death, pain and many more things may completely change the way a person feels.

For a family member, partner the thought of loss of a loved one, the thought of a loved one being in pain may take toll on them. Inability to help, frustration, suddenly being responsible for someone, having to manage everything by themselves may make them feel depressed and anxious.

Patients can feel distressed and anxious any time after the diagnosis and even once the treatment over. As these people cope up with the disease, the treatment, the side effects result in new stress causing factors. Patients with advanced cancers are more likely to feel emotionally distressed than those with the disease at an early stage. Physical symptoms like pain, fatigue, nausea may also cause depression and anxiety. The symptoms can be managed with the intake of right kind of drugs and supplements.

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Managing Depression and Anxiety

It is important to understand that feelings of anxiety and depression are normal. It is important that one stay in touch with the cancer care team and even opt for counseling.  All apprehensions regarding the disease, treatment and pursuing normal life should be discussed with the doctors. Discussing issues and acquiring knowledge about the same helps one feel more confident, calm and composed. Families when empowered with knowledge are able to take better care of their patients.

The doctor’s advice must be followed strictly. You must ensure that the cancer patient is given all the care that they need. Feeling angry and irritated is common in cancer treatment as the patient has to go through a lot of physical change. The attempt should be to keep the patient happy and relaxed. A patient must be involved in what he or she likes to. They should be filled with positive thoughts and energies. It is important for a patient to feel loved and cared for as this can help reduce levels of anxiety and depression. The caregivers also need to be provided relief from taking care of the patient and managing affairs as that is not easy and may be taking a toll on them.

It’s O.K. not to feel O.K.

Each patient is different and this is exactly why some may feel more depressed and anxious than the others. Depression and anxiety during and after treatment is common and it is only the magnitude that may differ. It is important to remember that professional help is available at all stages for both the patients and the caregivers. Yoga and meditation can also be made a part of routine in order to combat depression and anxiety.