Does psychological counseling as part of cardiac rehabilitation reduce the risk of dying?
Heart patients who underwent psychological counseling as part of cardiac rehabilitation programs have greater reductions in psychological distress, blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels than people who underwent cardiac rehabilitation without a counseling component. Some studies found that people who participated in cardiac rehabilitation with psychological counseling were less likely to die or experience future heart problems but counseling done outside of a cardiac rehabilitation program did not appear to provide the same benefits.
How important is emotional support from family and friends?
Social ties and emotional support from friends and family are important during the recovery process. Social ties can include a spouse, close family members, and friends, as well as participation in group activities (social gatherings, religious organizations, etc.). Socially isolated heart attack survivors are four times more likely to die than survivors with social ties. Heart problems, such as chest pain (angina) or another heart attack, also occur more often in isolated individuals. Emotional support from friends and family helps prevent depression, which in turn can reduce your risk of dying. It's important to discuss your fears and concerns with your family members because people who suppress their feelings tend to do worse over time.
How can I cope with the reactions of my friends and family to my illness?
It's very common for your family and friends to experience anxiety, depression, and fear after you have a heart attack or heart procedure. Studies of people who had a heart attack, angioplasty or bypass surgery found higher levels of anxiety and depression in the spouses than the patients. It's actually possible that your spouse's stress could delay your recovery.
Sometimes the reaction of your friends, children, or significant other may manifest as denial of the severity of your illness or even anger. This negative reaction may be a coping mechanism used to deal with their feelings of fear. Your family members and friends may be afraid that you'll have another heart attack, or die. It may ease their fears to know that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of future heart problems, such as taking your medicine as prescribed, eating healthier foods, and getting more exercise.
Depression And Anxiety Can Double Chances Of Heart Ailments
In an article in ScienceDaily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080118093328.htm
Jan. 18, 2008), a study found that major anxiety and/or depression, can double a coronary artery disease patient's chances of repeated heart ailments. This is one of the first studies to focus on patients with stable coronary artery disease -- not those who were hospitalized for events such as a heart attack.
“Both major depression and generalized anxiety disorder were more common in cardiac patients than in the general community." "On average, cardiac patients without these disorders had about a 13 percent chance of a repeated cardiac event over two years, compared to 26 percent of those with either major depression or anxiety."
“ . . . anxiety and depression can have a strong impact on people with stable coronary artery disease"
Major depressive disorder was diagnosed in roughly 7% percent of patients while about 5% had generalized anxiety disorder.
"since both disorders may respond to antidepressants."
ref: University of Montreal (2008, January 18). Depression And Anxiety Can Double Chances Of Heart Ailments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/01/080118093328.htm