A man stands in the kitchen wondering about the signs of depression after a heart attack.

Experiencing a heart attack changes life in the blink of an eye. What felt important prior to the health emergency suddenly fades into the background, as the top priority becomes helping the weakened heart to heal. Life is then filled with tests, following up with medical appointments, adjusting to new medications, and implementing dietary changes and an exercise regimen, all focused on ensuring maximum physical health.

Yet it’s incredibly important to know the signs of depression after a heart attack. While taking care of all of the new to-dos, feelings of fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and denial, among others, may settle in. It’s easy to see why depression is common after a heart attack. In fact, cardiovascular illnesses and depression very often go hand in hand. People who have no history of depression are at risk to experience it following a heart condition, while individuals already struggling with depression are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Why Is Depression Common After a Heart Attack?

Cardiovascular illnesses can cause an individual to experience an array of moods, including:

  • Questions about self-identity and self-doubt
  • Shame over lifestyle choices that may have brought about the issue
  • Uncertainty about what the future holds
  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Embarrassment over the need for help
  • And more

These feelings can cause depression, which in turn affects the person’s capacity to recover completely from the heart attack, as they may:

  • Experience depression-related hormonal changes that may cause arrhythmia
  • Lack the motivation to follow doctor’s orders
  • Decide to self-medicate through alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating, etc.
  • Develop especially sticky platelets that accelerate hardening of the arteries

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Determine if any of these red flags of depression are present after a heart incident:

  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes to sleeping habits
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Sluggishness or restlessness
  • Difficulty with memory, focusing, or decision-making

If depression is suspected, speak with the physician as soon as possible. Effective treatments are available.

How Home Care Can Help

Recovering from a heart attack is challenging enough, but adding in the effects of depression can make it seem insurmountable. In-home care can help in many ways with both physical and emotional recovery, with services such as:

  • Medication reminders to ensure meds are taken just as prescribed
  • Planning and preparing heart-healthy meals
  • Cheerful companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Assistance with sticking to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Trips to the grocery store and other errands
  • And more

Contact the in-home care experts at Inspired Home Care at 847-787-7572 to request further resources to help someone with cardiovascular disease, depression, or any other chronic health issue. We proudly provide in-home care services in Chicago, Palatine, Wilmette, and the surrounding areas.