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Depression When Facing a Terminal Illness

Posted on July 31, 2017 with 0 comments

Everyone will react with grief the moment they are diagnosed with a terminal illness, however being diagnosed with a terminal illness does not mean you should stop living your life normally. Patients and their loved ones should focus on creating beautiful moments with the elderly that will push them to fight the disease that they are infected with. Many patients with terminal conditions can still stretch their lives out for many years.

As much as we’d love to fill these years with all the happiness so elders feel like they have lived a fulfilling life, up to 77% of elders experiencing grief from terminal illnesses will develop depression. The likelihood of depression developing increases as the disease progresses and the pain and other symptoms increase. The less control you have over your body, the greater your chances of developing depression. Depression can be treated with medication and by making changes in your life that promote positive feelings.

Initial feelings of frustration and anger are expected when patients first learn of their diseases but if they let this frustration drag and it leads to them isolating themselves, avoiding activities and even suicidal thoughts, they will develop depression. Depression can stop them from taking their pills on time as the willingness to live also weakens.

Caregivers will have to determine whether the declining health of the patients is due to the illness or depression itself. If the patient’s body isn’t responding to medication then it is likely because of the depression.

Diagnosing depression in a terminally ill patient can be tough and so many are left untreated. Before prescribing pills for depression to the elderly, they should consider doing a full physical examination, taking their entire medical history and even do some blood and imagining tests.

Terminally ill depressed individuals can be treated with psychotherapy, medication and by making changes to their lifestyles.
Psychotherapy entails them having sessions with a therapist who is an expert in managing terminally ill patients. With the guidance of the therapist, patients will gain a deeper understanding of their condition and accept this tough phase of their lives.

Meditation consists of giving patients a combination of pain relievers and anti-depressants to help them overcome their depression.
Lifestyle modifications refers to building habits that enhance overall well-being and reducing inner toxicity that prevents the patients from making the most of their time. Lifestyle modifications can include meditating every morning, doing yoga or some form of exercise every day etc.

It’s best for elderly individuals to share how they are feeling with others. Although this would be painful to hear for family members and close loved ones, support groups can be very helpful. Caregivers are advised to monitor support groups to make sure that their patient is engaging in healthy conversations that benefit them instead of demoralizing them.

Additionally, caregivers should provide patients with an outlet to express themselves in a healthy manner. This could be in the form of art, music or even just writing a journal. It helps to let out their emotions.

You may not be able to relieve them of the terminal illness but you can improve their well-being significantly by pulling them out of depression.

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