Any serious medical condition can severely affect a person’s mental health. Cancer patients are not the only those who suffer from their illness, but their situation also devastates the people around them like their loved ones and caregivers.
According to Lillian Harris LCPC-C, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” Receiving news of a potentially deadly diagnosis, coping with limitations, and going through regular treatment protocols can cause mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Dealing with mental health requirements is essential in the treatment procedure and, on certain occasions, the psychiatry of it all can impact prognosis.
The Impact Of Cancer On Psychiatry
Some cancer patients may lose their capacity to be confident and independent. Others may find that their energy levels have plummeted and activities once enjoyed can no longer be done. Optimum care must be provided to facilitate bearable activities that the patient can experience with minimal utilization of energy.
Majority of cancer patients will experience a system that is comparable to grieving after the diagnosis is given during the palliative stage or end-of-life care. There is data backing up the existence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with both cancer patients and survivors. This evidence is directly a result of traumatic encounters that are associated with the illness, and because of the high potential of poor prognoses.
Treatments for cancer also cause anxiety and depression. A significant adverse effect of chemotherapy referred to as “chemo brain” causes mental fog, depression, fatigue, and other types of cognitive deterioration. The American Cancer Society published an article that shows the connection between chemo brain and depression and has identified that both are to be considered when dealing with cancer treatments.
Managing Mental Health
Special considerations are required when treating mental illnesses in patients who are struggling with cancer. Depending on the severity or prognosis given by the oncologist, encouragement to have a positive outlook and reminding the patient that eventually, his or her condition will get better may not be possible but this does not signify that treating patients with cancer who have a mental illness is not essential. And because mental health problems are considered as underdiagnosed in patients with cancer, it is advisable to make a proactive resolution in detecting such conditions. As Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC explains, “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ”
Common Mental Health Conditions
The commonly diagnosed mental health problems that cancer patients experience are those disorders that fall under the adjustment scale, which includes depression, anxiety, and other different stress coping and adaptation conditions. Consulting a therapist for psychotherapeutic treatments that are primarily aimed at cancer patients provides extensive guidance and support. “Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.” Chris Corbett, PsyD said.
Mental Health With Family Members
Caregivers and family members of patients also have increased chances of having anxiety and depression; therefore, proactive support and guidance must also be given to preserve their mental health and deal with stress. Usually, family members experience a similar grieving process experienced by the cancer patient, mainly if the condition is terminal.
Due to their inability to be productive, which is mostly caused by changes in their socioeconomic status, family members who take care of cancer patients have increased the risk of having depression. For this reason, it is vital that family members and caregivers seek professional support once a cancer diagnosis is realized. Treatment for mental illness should always be integrated into caring for both the cancer patient and the people surrounding them