Another topic we don't discuss nearly enough here on the forum.
The Symptoms of Depression and Prostate Cancer
"Depression can be common in men with prostate cancer," says Mary Beth Tevebaugh, a behavioral health therapist at the Center for Behavioral Health at Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, Ky. "It is really important for the MDs treating the patient to screen for it, and for the patient to be
open with their doctors if they are struggling with such feelings."
Depression is more than just feeling a little down. It can affect your sleep, your appetite, your relationships, and even your physical health. In fact, a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that men with prostate cancer who also received a diagnosis of depression were more likely to be hospitalized or need extra outpatient and emergency room visits. Depression was also associated with a higher risk of death over the course of the study. Some of the most common symptoms of depression in men with prostate cancer are:
Sleep disturbances. This can mean either sleeping too much or not being able to sleep.
Feeling tired or lacking energy.
Difficulty concentrating. You may have problems focusing, remembering things, or making decisions.
Suicidal thoughts. People with depression may think often about
death and suicide, and even plan how to carry it out.
Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless.
Loss of enjoyment. You may no longer enjoy things that once gave you great pleasure.
Persistent sadness. These feelings may occur many days of the week, and most hours of the day.
Feeling slow or sluggish.
You may attribute these feelings to the cancer diagnosis or a side effect of treatment, but depression is its own disease — and requires its own treatment.
Treating Depression in Prostate Cancer Patients
A positive outlook and a healthy mental state are helpful tools in the battle against cancer. If you're having a hard time coping with your prostate cancer prognosis because of depression, it's time to seek help. There are many different ways to treat depression.
Medications. Antidepressant drugs can be prescribed to either prevent symptoms of depression in prostate cancer patients or to control them when they appear.
Therapy. Your doctor may recommend that you see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other counselor to help you manage your depression.
Combination therapy. Medications and therapy are often used together to battle serious depression.
Depression in men with prostate cancer "is something to be taken seriously because it is often overlooked and therefore under-diagnosed," says Tevebaugh. "If someone gets help with their depression, it helps with the cancer recovery. They go hand in hand, as the mind/body connection is powerful. [Depression] can be treated, along with the cancer medication, with depression medication and therapy."
Stop Depression Before It Starts
Often, physicians may prescribe an antidepressant soon after the prostate cancer diagnosis to ward off symptoms of depression. That was the case with John (not his real name), a two-year prostate cancer survivor from Kentucky.
"My general physician actually prescribed a mild antidepressant, and after a few months I said, 'I'm kicking this, I don't need it,' " says John. But he says it's easy for men to become depressed after they get the news.
"When you're first diagnosed, the response is, 'I'm going to die, and I'm going to leave my family.' And you can become very depressed," he says. "It's very difficult a lot of times for men to seek help."
"I found church and religious experiences to be a good way of working through the depression when you're first diagnosed," John says. "I think it's very important for men in particular to let down their guard and say, 'I'm going to need help with this issue,' and really spend a lot of time [with] — in my case, my wife, coworkers, and church people, and gather that sense of support."
You don't need to hide your feelings, or ignore them, or feel embarrassed. But you do need to tell your doctor so that you can work together to beat both your prostate cancer and your depression. Letting your doctor in on your concerns and getting started on treatment can make the cancer treatment process easier to bear.
Post Edited (FoxRun) : 2/2/2018 7:53:11 AM (GMT-7)