Your Emotional Health

Getting diagnosed with heart failure can cause a strain on your emotional health. You may feel depressed and be anxious and worried about your symptoms, the future and how your condition impacts your family. Your family members may also be depressed and anxious. These feelings are normal and should fade as you start to take charge of your health and make positive changes. If the feelings continue and keep you from enjoying life, talk to your doctor, nurse or see a counselor/therapist who can help you cope.

How can my emotions affect heart failure?

Unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure, damage to your arteries, irregular heart rhythms and a weakened immune system.

Depression in patients with heart failure increases the risk of hospitalization; cardiac events, such as chest pain and heart attack; and death.

You may feel depressed because you don’t know what to expect or because you can’t do simple tasks without becoming overly tired. Other factors can contribute to depression, such as:

  • Your family history, physical health and state of mind and environment
  • Life transitions, losses and high levels of stress
  • Imbalances in chemicals your body uses to control your mood

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression can affect people in different ways. Not everyone has the same symptoms. Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling sad, anxious or “empty”
  • Withdrawal from activities
  • Lack of response to visits with family and friends
  • Negative thoughts and feeling hopeless, guilty or worthless
  • Tearfulness
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Trouble with your memory, concentration or decision making
  • Thoughts of suicide or attempting suicide

If you have thoughts of suicide, call your doctor, go to the emergency room or call your local 24-hour suicide hotline right away!

National Suicide Prevention Hotline number: 800.273.8255.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/21/2018.

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