Depression and Terminal Illness

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Conner-Bowman Funeral Home under cremation
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cremation services in Ferrum, VA

Before you need cremation services in Ferrum, VA, you may be diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. Grief is quite common with a diagnosis of terminal illness, and it is a normal part of the acceptance process that you are going to die.

However, in many cases, this grief can turn into depression. It is estimated that over 75% of people who are diagnosed with a terminal illness develop depression. As the terminal illness progresses, the risk of depression increases. The more changes that the terminal illness brings, the less control the person feels that they have over their lives.

Some terminally ill people are at a higher risk for developing depression if they have a past history of known risk factors. These include:

  • Past history of depression
  • Family history of depression
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of addiction
  • History of social stress
  • Past history of suicide attempts

Some medications given during the course of terminal illnesses may also contribute to the development of depression.

Depression is a mental condition that should be taken seriously, but there are ways to lessen its impact. Appropriate treatment of depression and terminally ill people can enhance the quality of the life they have left.

There are many normal feelings and emotions that you may experience when you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Some of these may be:

  • Disbelief
  • Denial
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Vulnerability
  • Frustration
  • Peace
  • Acceptance

None of these feelings necessarily mean that you’re experiencing depression. In fact, and terminally ill people, it can be difficult to distinguish negative feelings from depression. However, one of the subtle signs of depression and terminally ill people is when pain doesn’t respond to treatment as it should.

If you are terminally ill and thinking about suicide or you attempt suicide, you may be experiencing depression. Many terminally ill people plead with their doctors to in their lives early. Most of the time, this is not depression, but instead an attempt by terminally ill people to regain control over their lives – and their deaths.

Depression tends to be underdiagnosed in people who are terminally ill because it’s hard to separate the normal feelings of having a terminal illness from the clinical symptoms of depression. Therefore, many terminally ill people with depression are not treated for depression.

To get a definitive diagnosis of depression in a terminally ill person, a doctor should be involved and take a medical history, do a physical exam, to blood tests, and do imaging tests.

If depression is diagnosed, there are many types of treatment available. Some of these can be used in combination with each other to be more effective.

One of the first things that terminally ill people are advised to do is to seek counseling. This counseling can be provided by a psychologist or by a clergy member whom the terminally ill person trusts and can confide in to work through the emotions they are feeling and the issues they are facing.

Another thing that can help with depression and terminally ill people is to make lifestyle modifications. These may include abstaining from alcohol or drug use, which can exacerbate feelings of depression.

There are many medications that are available to treat depression. A psychiatrist can help identify the medication or medications that are most likely to help alleviate depression.

cremation services in Ferrum, VA

If you are terminally ill, there are several things you can do on your own to help process what’s happening to you. Keeping a journal can help you process feelings and emotions that you’re experiencing. If you are artistic, you may find solace and relief in artistic pursuits like drawing, painting, or playing music.

For information about cremation services in Ferrum, VA, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lynch Conner-Bowman Funeral Home can assist you.

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