Managing Feelings About Heart Failure
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Recognizing Depression and Anxiety

Everyone feels anxious or blue some of the time. But if these feelings persist and they interfere with your ability to do and enjoy your daily activities, or if your relationships are affected, you should seek help.

You may be depressed if you have any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:
  • Down mood
  • Feeling blue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Preoccupation with death

Also keep in mind that people who are depressed often feel tired and have no energy. They may lose interest in sex, have trouble sleeping, and lose their appetite. Although fatigue and loss of appetite are also common symptoms of heart failure, they are more likely due to depression if accompanied by any of the symptoms listed above.

You may be anxious if you have any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:
  • Excessive worry
  • Fear
  • Tension
  • Feeling keyed up or always on edge
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling shaky

Many people in our society feel there is some stigma associated with having emotional problems like depression or anxiety. As a result, they may be reluctant to talk to anyone about how they are feeling. But having emotional problems is nothing to be ashamed about. It is important to recognize and treat depression and anxiety. If you are having difficulties coping with feelings about heart failure, you should seek help and support. In other words, if depression and anxiety are interfering with your life or causing distress, it is important for you to seek help from your doctor or nurse.

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