Grif.Net

06/01/19 Weekend Grif.Net – The Mental Side of Recovery

06/01/19 Weekend Grif.Net – The Mental Side of Recovery

[Most know =
that 7 months ago I suffered a major right-brain stroke.  While I =
have had few continuing deficits, I am just beginning the Recovery in my =
mind, an area hidden to others who simply see me back at church or the =
store. This article is from Harvard Medical, April, 2019, and is part of =
my therapy.]

The physical =
repercussions of a major health issue, like surgery, an injury, or a =
heart attack, are tough enough without having to also confront the =
stress, anxiety, and depression that often accompanies it. Yet managing =
your mental health is just as important as your physical health when it =
comes to making a full recovery.  "There is no question that =
your state of mind can dictate how quickly you can return from a =
physical setback," says Dr. Jeff Huffman, director of the cardiac =
psychiatry research program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General =
Hospital.

Mind and =
body

When you are =
under constant stress and anxiety, your fight-or-flight response often =
goes into overdrive. This can raise blood pressure and trigger =
inflammation, which can make your recovery longer and more difficult. =
"And mild depression related to your setback can weaken the =
motivation and attention you need to take better care of yourself," =
says Dr. Huffman. Science has shown a strong link between mind and body =
in people dealing with a serious health event. Research from the =
American Heart Association, presented at its Quality of Care and =
Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2018, found that about 20% of =
cardiovascular disease patients suffer from depression, and this can =
affect how well they deal with their condition. The researchers noted =
that heart attack patients diagnosed with depression were 54% more =
likely to be hospitalized later compared with those who don’t have =
depression.

Coping with =
anxiety or depression before having a procedure also can affect your =
recovery, according to a study in the May 2017 British Journal of =
Surgery
. Researchers reviewed the health information of 177,000 =
people who had undergone hip and knee replacements, hernia repairs, and =
varicose vein operations. They found that the likelihood of experiencing =
wound complications after surgery was 17% greater among those diagnosed =
with moderate anxiety or depression prior to surgery. This group also =
had a 20% greater readmission rate to the hospital because of their =
wounds.

Strategies for =
recovery

What can you =
do to manage stress and anxiety and avoid possible depression when =
undergoing a physical recovery? Here are three strategies that can =
help.

Leverage your =
social support.
You can’t =
handle everything on your own during your recovery, and trying to do so =
can cause constant stress and anxiety. "Rely on family and friends =
for support, whether it’s help with doctor appointments, therapy, or =
just managing your medication and diet," says Dr. Huffman. =
"Also, make an effort to increase your social interactions to keep =
up your spirits, whether it’s through phone calls, social media, or =
visits."

Focus on being =
active.
No matter the =
length of your expected recovery, begin to plan your return to activity. =
"This sends a signal to both your body and mind that you are in =
recovery mode and working to get better," says Dr. Huffman. Plan =
out the steps you need to take and then create a strategy to follow. =
Focus on what you can do now, even it is small in scale, and not on what =
you can’t do. "It could be as simple as walking around your room, =
or around the block, or doing simple exercises in bed," says Dr. =
Huffman. "Even meeting a friend for lunch can be beneficial, as it =
makes you move and get out of the house."

Recall what =
worked before.
This is =
probably not the first time you’ve faced a setback that affected your =
emotional well-being. "Think back to what you did before to get =
through a rough time and try to replicate it," says Dr. =
Huffman. 

If you need =
help, a study published online Sept. 18, 2018, by the Journal of the =
American College of Cardiology
suggested that writing about optimism =
and gratitude can help people maintain a positive outlook when faced =
with health issues. For instance, write about past life successes =
— personal and professional — and how you can apply those =
skills to your self-care. Also, think about some short- and long-term =
health goals you want to achieve after your recovery is completed, like =
traveling to a new country, or taking up a new sport or endeavor or =
improving an existing one.

~~

Dr Bob Griffin =

bob@grif.net www.grif.net =

"Jesus Knows Me, This I =
Love!"