Physical Illness And Mental Health: Help Is At Hand - Booklet

March 2017

Mental Health

Country of origin: UK

Having a physical illness, and treatment for it, can affect the way we think and feel. A new booklet from the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Help is at Hand series explains the emotional effects of having a serious physical illness, and offers advice on how to cope with the mood changes that often accompany ill health.

The booklet describes what it is like to be anxious or depressed, and looks at the reasons why these feelings are more likely to occur if someone has a serious illness.

Being ill and having treatment are stressful, and people become depressed and anxious when they are stressed for any reason. Some drug treatments, such as steroids, affect the way the brain works and can cause depression and anxiety directly.

Factors that may make a person more likely to become anxious or depressed include having experienced these feelings before; not having family or friends to talk to about the illness; having other stresses going on at the same time, such as divorce, or the death of someone close; and being in a lot of pain.

The booklet offers advice on when people should seek help, and emphasises that this is not a sign of weakness. Some people try to cope with feelings of anxiety and depression by keeping busy, but over activity can lead to even more stress and exhaustion.

Health professionals need to know if a patient with a serous physical illness is depressed, so that they can decide if treatment for anxiety of depression is needed.

Physical illness and mental health is available online.

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