Depression and Heart Disease
William Stone RN MSN CNS
We are creatures of habit.
Depression occurs when we get stuck in habitual patterns that keep
us unhappy. We are often unaware of the patterns, and don't think
that things could be any different. These negative patterns are formed
by an accumulation of specific unresolved events. Examples are physical
and emotional shocks or traumas, and abandonments or losses (including
loss of youth or health). Chronic frustrations and irritations can
add sticky layers to the patterns. Changing patterns means changing
the way energy flows through your life, and making different choices
about how to spend your time (less news and more walks in nature?).
Depression can increase the risk for heart disease, and heart disease can be depressing. It is often most effective to treat both at once. Life is too precious to let it slip miserably away because of harmful
- Antidepressant medication is most effective when used in combination
with psychotherapy or counseling to change the patterns of thinking
and behavior. Medication changes brain chemistry, but not necessarily
unconscious patterns that keep us unhappy.
- Exercise is especially helpful (and likely to be done) when you
find it enjoyable.
- Cognitive-Behavioral therapy can help you to recognize and change
- Connecting with others in meaningful ways provides opportunities
to be useful and less preoccupied with your own problems. Love is
a powerful healer.
- Homeopathic or Flower remedies often help to change patterns
without side effects.
- Energy techniques such as "tapping" can change patterns
that are locked into the body.
- Nutrition and diet may play a role: include Omega-3 fatty acids,
folic acid, B3, B6 and B12.
Symtoms of Depression *
- Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
* Compiled by the National Institute of Mental Health and included
in the document "Depression" found online