Depression, anxiety and a lack of social support can slow your recovery and increase your risk of more problems.
Use this simple emotional health self-assessment checklist to help you monitor how you’re feeling.
You can also use this action plan to help plan your recovery.
It's important to speak to your doctor and get help as soon as possible if you're concerned about your mental health.
After a heart attack or other heart problem, it is normal to feel sad, angry, anxious, guilty, lonely, confused or stressed.
You may have one or more of these feelings. They may last a few hours, days or a couple of weeks. We recommend that you talk with your doctor if they last longer than two weeks.
Some emotional and social factors, like depression, being socially isolated or not having social support, can affect your recovery and future health. It’s important for you to take care of your emotional and mental health, as well as your physical health.
If you need help, call Beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36. Beyondblue is an independent, not-for- profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of depression and anxiety in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma.
Depression is more than just feeling sad or having a low mood – it’s a serious illness.
If you have depression you can find it hard to do everyday things. You may not want to be with friends or family, or enjoy working or playing sport. Depression also affects your relationships and overall sense of wellbeing.
You might get depression for different reasons.
This may be to do with your heart problem, family or work problems, or feeling overwhelmed by having to change your lifestyle. It can also be caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain. Some medicines may cause depression as a side effect.
Know the signs of depression. Ask for help when you need it. Your doctor can tell you different ways of treating it.
Depression and coronary heart disease often go together.
People who live alone or are lonely may have a higher risk of a reoccurring heart event than people who have support from family and friends.
Managing depression will help you recover better. It can reduce your risk of more heart problems and help you stay healthy.
You may be depressed if for more than two weeks you have felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or you’ve lost pleasure in usual activities, and you’ve also experienced some of these signs and symptoms:
Depression is high in people recovering from heart attacks. Use this simple self-assessment questionnaire to help manage your emotions.
Please speak to your doctor if you answered 'yes' to either of these questions.
If you need help, call Beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36. Beyondblue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of depression and anxiety in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma.
Depression is just like any other illness; there are treatments for it.
Medical treatments include anti-depressant medicines to relieve the physical symptoms.
If you have mild depression and heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation programs and regular physical activity can help. You may also benefit from psychological therapies and, if necessary, medication.
Use the Psychological and social health action plan to help you recover step-by-step.
If you think you have depression or you have been diagnosed with it, there are different ways to manage it. These things may also help to lower your risk of coronary heart disease.
Social isolation can occur when you live alone or if you feel lonely (isolated) for other reasons.
Social support is when you have friends and family who listen to you and understand how you feel. They give you emotional support and you share activities with them like dinners, drinks, sports, picnics and other outings.
People who live alone or are lonely may have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than people who have support from family and friends.
You will get well faster and more easily when other people, like your family, friends, health professionals, and support groups, help you.
Your cardiac rehabilitation program is an important way to give you support and comfort. You get the advice and care of health professionals while sharing experiences with others who have similar heart problems.
Joining groups such as walking groups and clubs where you can get support and meet new people can also be an important part of your recovery.
Understandably, a heart attack can cause intense anxiety for you and your family. It’s important to talk to your doctor or health care professional if you think you are experiencing anxiety.
Experiencing a heart attack may leave you feeling vulnerable, perhaps less ‘bulletproof’ than you felt before. It can start you thinking about your mortality and worrying that another heart event will happen.
A heart attack can also cause a lot of stress because of its impact on your lifestyle, future plans, and financial stability.
Lean more about getting back to normal life after a heart attack.
Anxiety can be a debilitating condition.
It’s is more than just feeling stressed or worried. It’s normal to feel anxious at different times during your life and these feelings usually pass once the stressful situation has been resolved. But sometimes this doesn’t happen.
Anxiety commonly involves intense physical sensations such as racing heart, nausea or hot and cold flushes. They are usually accompanied by racing thoughts and feelings of impending doom. This is a very uncomfortable experience.
People with anxiety will commonly avoid situations and cues that make them feel anxious. Unfortunately, this can lead to anxiety getting worse rather than better.
There are very effective treatments for anxiety. The best first step is to talk with your doctor about treatment options.
Getting psychological support can help you to manage your racing mind and worries, and teach you mindfulness and relaxation strategies to help you to reduce anxiety. Cardiac rehabilitation can help you to understand what is happening in your heart and improve your heart health help you to be reassured and to feel more in control.
Learn about treatment and support for anxiety on the Beyond Blue website.
Improving your emotional health is easier when you have a plan. Use this action plan designed for heart attack survivors to help you.