How can I cope with post-operative depression?

"While not experienced by all patients, becoming depressed after surgery is a fairly common event. Depression following hospitalization and cardiac surgery has been linked to the development of new cardiac complications. Based on our research findings, we can offer some common-sense approaches to combat depression."—Janey Peterson, RN, MA

Be aware: Left untreated, depression can become a serious health problem. You and your caregivers should be mindful of changes in mood and realize that you may become depressed after the operation.

Don't forget social support: We see many patients who become cut off from their social networks—bridge clubs, book groups, and golfing partners—once they have surgery. It's important not to close yourself off from people after you go home. These relationships area valuable way to maintain quality of life.

Confidence is key: Patients who do the best after surgery are those who have a good attitude. You had major surgery for a reason: to improve and extend your life. Patients who become proactive and "seize the moment" resume a high quality of life after their operation.

Get professional help: We encourage our patients to seek out help for depression. Often, pharmacologic treatment can be provided by your internist or cardiologist. However, treatment can also be provided by a mental health professional.

Continue Learning about Depression Treatment

Depression Treatment

Depression Treatment

Because it is a multi-faceted condition, treatment for depression is multi-faceted as well. Minor depression can often be treated with therapy and a few simple lifestyle changes, while chronic or major depression treatment can req...

uire medication in addition to therapy. In some severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used. It's important to work with your mental health professional to determine which course of treatment for your type of depression is most appropriate.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.