Depression After A Heart Attack – Causes, Procedure, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment Tips

Have you observed the signs of depression in individuals who have had heart attack?

As per researchers, heart attacks (or other heart diseases) play significant role in causing depression in people who have had these heart diseases. Studies have shown that people who have heart disease are more vulnerable to depression compared to otherwise healthy people.

Why heart attack or other heart diseases cause depression?

The exact cause of depression in patients, who have heart diseases, is not known. However depression may further worsens the symptoms of heart disease as it can reduce the physical and mental health of patients.

Depressed patients tend to ignore their medication plan and skip the treatment for heart disease.

It puts them at higher risk of death after a heart attack.

Causes of depression in patients who have heart diseases

• Biological differences may result from chemical or physical changes in the brains of affected people and lead to depression.

• Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals, associated with the fluctuations in the mood of the person. The neurotransmitters are supposed to play significant part in causing depression.

• The hormones may trigger depression depending on the changes in their levels in the body. There are various factors that brought about changes in hormone levels such as menopause, thyroid problems, etc.

Diagnostic Tests for Depression in patients with heart diseases

The diagnosis of the major depression is performed by doctors after thorough medical examination of the depressed patient.  Patient is asked various questions related to medical history and symptoms.

Common Diagnostic Procedures

• Full patient medical history

• Physical Assessment

• Thorough evaluation of symptoms

• Standardized questionnaires like Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and the Beck Depression Inventory

• Blood tests for TSH and thyroxin levels for excluding hypothyroidism

• Basic electrolytes and serum calcium for ruling out metabolic disturbances

• Full blood count including ESR for ruling out a systemic infection

• Adverse affective reactions for medications

• Adverse affective reactions for alcohol misuse

•  Evaluation of Testosterone levels for diagnosing hypogonadism

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in patients with heart diseases

Sadness

Feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness

Feeling irritable or restlessness

Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable

Feeling tired frequently

Difficulty in concentrating

Difficulty in making decisions

Loss of memory

Loss of appetite

Suicidal tendency

Treatment of depression in people with heart disease

Psychiatrists treat the depression by employing the combination of various therapies to obtain the optimal results.

• Medications like antidepressants and antipsychotic medication

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) such as citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) such as venlafaxine and duloxetine

• Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy/ or talk therapy that inculcates the positive attitude and behaviours in the patients

• Physical exercise

• Support from families/friends

Tips for treating depression in heart disease patients

• Exercise regularly and remain physical active

• Eating healthy foods

• Take interest in pleasurable activities

• Maintain proper sleeping habits

• Minimize use of alcohol and other illegal drugs

• Quit smoking

• Get engage in socialising activities

• Express feelings to close friends and family

• Maintain strict regimen of taking medications