An older man stands in the kitchen holding a glass of water and considering how a heart attack can lead to depression.

Having a heart attack changes life in an instant. What seemed important prior to the health emergency suddenly fades into the background, while the main concern becomes helping the injured heart to heal. Life is then filled with tests, following up with medical appointments, adjusting to new medications, and implementing dietary changes and an exercise regimen, all aimed at ensuring optimal physical health.

Yet it’s just as important to pay attention to mental health throughout the healing process. While taking care of all of the new to-dos, feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, denial, and anger, among others, may settle in. It is easy to see how depression can manifest as well. As a matter of fact, a heart attack can lead to depression. People who have no history of depression are at risk to experience it following a heart condition, while individuals already living with depression are at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

Why Is Depression Common After a Heart Attack?

Cardiovascular disease can cause an individual to experience a variety of moods, including:

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

These types of feelings can cause depression, which often impacts the person’s capacity to recover fully from the heart attack, as they may:

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

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Determine if any of these red flags of depression are present after a heart incident:

  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Lack of interest in once-loved activities
  • Changes to sleeping habits
  • Restlessness or sluggishness
  • Difficulty with focusing, decision-making, or memory

If depression is suspected, speak with the physician as soon as possible. Effective treatment plans are available.

How In-Home Care Can Help

Recovering from a heart attack is difficult enough, but adding in the effects of depression can make it seem nearly impossible. In-home care can assist in a variety of ways with both physical and emotional recovery, with services such as:

  • Medication reminders to make certain meds are taken exactly as prescribed
  • Assistance with sticking to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals
  • Friendly companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Grocery shopping and other errands
  • Plus much more

Contact the experts at Home With You Senior Care at 410-756-0959. We can provide resources to help someone with cardiovascular illnesses, depression, or any other chronic health condition, and share about the many ways our home care services in Pikesville, Columbia, Owings Mills, as well as the surrounding areas can assist someone you love.