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Anxiety and Depression After Cancer


Cancer is a dreaded disease that can cause a significant level of psychological distress in the patient and may lead to anxiety or depression. A person who has been diagnosed with cancer knows that surviving cancer is more than just killing cancer cells and getting through treatment. Patients have to deal with the emotional, social, and financial consequences of a cancer diagnosis. This has been proven by a clinical study that established the fact that the patients experienced distress during the treatment and had difficulties in making adjustments in their lives in the long term. The same study also indicated that more intensive cancer treatments are associated with an increased risk of anxiety.

The anxiety or depression in people, who have been diagnosed with cancer, stems from the fears and uncertainties that they experience. Contrary to the expectations, patients especially in advanced stage of cancer experience anxiety or depression not because of fear of death, but from the fear of being left alone, fear of uncontrolled pain and dependency on others.

However, many of these causes can be alleviated with treatment to provide anxiety relief. The treatment for providing relief from anxiety should start by educating the patient with the information on cancer and the treatment it requires. This will help him or her completely understand the situation and the treatment options. Most cancer patients go through a phase of extreme anger and helplessness that stems from a feeling that life has been unfair to them. The only way of overcoming this feeling is to channel the anger towards positive action like seeking adequate and appropriate help.

Another major cause of depression or anxiety in cancer patients is the fear of being left alone. This is activated if the family shows signs of being scared of the condition. A cancer support group can be of great help by providing avenues of talking about the condition to other people who understand the situation better and can provide valuable inputs on how to manage life, going forward.

These support groups can also help the family in understanding that the condition is nothing to be scared of so that they can mete out humane treatment to the patient. Even those lucky few who are diagnosed in the early stages of cancer and have been successfully treated may suffer from anxiety or depression due to thoughts of a relapse that can hound them. Though some people are able to grow out of the shadow of this worry, there are some who may be troubled by it.

The anxiety associated with this increases when another member of the family falls sick or during follow-up visits to the doctor. Such people need to develop a positive mental attitude, find ways and means to relax and most importantly talk about your feelings with others. In cases where these approaches do not work, medications for anxiety relief may be used in combination with these techniques.

Natural treatments for anxiety are also gaining prominence since they do not have side effects and are not habit forming.

Article courtesy of Native Remedies

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