The emotions of long-term illness

No one feels joy when diagnosed with a long-term illness. About the best emotion may be relief that there's finally an explanation for symptoms. More typically, people feel anger denial and depression at learning of such a diagnosis. Heart patients may bemoan their restricted activity level; stroke survivors may feel depressed over the loss of speech or the use of a limb; Alzheimer's patients may fear what the future holds.

Depression is a common response to any loss of ability or independence. It may range from feeling down for a few hours to severe clinical depression that may last for months.

Symptoms of Depression: You or the person in your care may feel

* Long-lasting sad, anxious or "empty" mood

* Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism

* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

* Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex

* Decreased energy, always feeling tired, being "slowed down"

* Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

* Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping

* Appetite and/or weight changes

* Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicidal attempts

* Restlessness, irritability

If five or more of these symptoms last for longer than two weeks, depression may be the cause. Talk to your physician or psychiatrist about treatment options.

(Taken from Caregiver Assistance News)

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