Importance of Emotional Health During Cardiac Rehab
Recovering from a heart problem means not only getting back
your physical strength but also getting back your emotional and mental
well-being. Having a positive outlook during your recovery and rehabilitation
is necessary to help you recover physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Remember that you are going to start feeling better very soon. You are working
to get back to your normal life.
Will I feel depressed?
Nearly all people recovering
or rehabilitating from a cardiac event experience some form of stress,
depression, helplessness, or social isolation. You should be aware that these
feelings are common for people who have heart problems. Often both you and your
family and friends struggle with the idea of having a heart problem and the
necessary changes you must make in your lifestyle to prevent future cardiac
The fatigue and pain you might be experiencing may make
you depressed. You may:
Have mood swings.
Feel afraid or anxious.
Not be able to
Have "good days" and "bad days."
Sleep too much or not enough.
What can I do to feel better mentally and avoid depression?
It can be important to keep your family and friends
around you during your recovery. They can go on walks with you or just sit and
chat. You should continue to be affectionate with your family and friends.
Affectionate gestures can improve your mood and make you feel less
Both you and your loved ones should identify negative
feelings and actively find ways to deal with them. Successfully dealing with
negative feelings has been shown to have a helpful effect on your outlook,
future risks, and the changes you need to make in your lifestyle.
A comprehensive cardiac rehab program will most likely include some form
of psychological assessment to help determine your current psychological status
and identify areas that need to be addressed. A program can offer support and
education to help reduce the normal stresses associated with a cardiac event
Simple techniques like deep breathing can
help you relax and gain control of your situation. In some cases, medicines,
psychotherapy, or spiritual counseling may help you deal with your mental
If you are depressed but active in dealing with these
feelings, you will probably not continue to feel depressed after you are fully
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.