Depression following surgery is common. Here’s how to reduce it

By Rebecca Burton • Published: August 25th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you’ve ever undergone a major surgery, you may know the anxiety and stress that follows. In fact, experts say it’s quite common for patients to experience bouts of depression after a major operation.

Heart surgery, brain surgery, gastric bypass and hysterectomy are just a few of the procedures that have high postoperative depression rates. Depression can be triggered by a number of factors, including reaction to anesthesia or antibiotics, and physical, mental and emotional stress caused by the surgery or the disorder that prompted it, according to a report in BMC Surgery.

Common signs and symptoms of depression include fatigue, eating or sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty making decisions, anxiety, irritability, aggression, loss of interest and thoughts of hopelessness. However, if you’re aware of the signs and symptoms of depression, it’s easier to take practical steps to alleviate them.

First, exercise regularly, even if it’s a simple walk. This helps the body regain strength, and physical activity can help boost overall morale. Second, stick to a normal sleep schedule to help keep your life organized and on schedule. Third, deal with emotions by reaching out to loved ones or a medical professional. It’s important to not keep these emotions bottled up inside. Fourth, eat a healthy, balanced diet to help your body recover in a timely manner. Lastly, set goals. Write down a list of realistic recovery goals and track your progress; this can help you see how far you’ve come since your surgery.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to talk with your doctor to discuss treatment options, to help you on your road to a full recovery.