How Can I Tell If My Depression Or Anxiety Is A Normal Response To Breast Cancer And When Should I See A Psychiatrist?

Question: How can I tell if my depression or anxiety is a normal response to my breast cancer and when should I see a psychiatrist?

Answer: Many women ask me: "Am I going to get depressed during this cancer?" "Am I going to become so anxious that I'm not going to be able to function effectively -- as a friend, as a wife, as a partner, as a mother, as a worker, as a homemaker?" We know very much now what the range of emotional responses are to a breast cancer diagnosis and we know that a small percentage of women will develop a depression or anxiety symptoms that require treatment. Fortunately, today, primary doctors, breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, are very attuned to women's emotional reactions, and in many centers when a woman is starting to exhibit symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, tension that won't go away, insomnia, difficulty sleeping night after night, or a sadness that is pervasive and interferes with effective thinking and functioning and being the kind of person you want to be, those kinds of women are often referred for mental health evaluation.

The good news is we often can prescribe low-dose anti-anxiety medication, sleeping medication, or very effective and easily tolerated antidepressants that can help a woman through these difficult periods. Medications are never used alone without talking and emotional support, and fortunately in most centers right now good talking therapy or emotional support is available for women from a variety of health professionals.

null

Next: Is it normal to feel hopeless about my future and what should I do about it?

Previous: How can I best respond to insensitive questions?

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3648348. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3648348. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3648348.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)