Prostate Cancer & Mental Health
During the time of diagnosis for Prostate Cancer, patients can experience a variety of emotions, from fear to anxiety. Some people often feel a sense of emasculation or remorse. Patients who are dealing with a loss of libido and erectile dysfunction are at increased risk of depression, fatigue, anxiety, irritability and fear of disease progression.
Being identified as having prostate cancer may make you feel as though you have lost control of your body or your life. You may be reminiscing over an incomplete accomplishment or an unfulfilled opportunity. As difficult as it may seem, try to consider what positive actions you can take now to make you feel more at peace with your mental health. If you are involved in a relationship, you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable for thinking you are being a burden to your partner or worrying about the bearing on them emotionally or financially. Be patient with yourself and don’t be frightened to reach out to others who might want to uplift you. Let them know how they can help, even if it just means passing quiet time beside you.
Some treatment options for prostate cancer may also alter a man’s mental health. The side effects seen with hormonal therapy for example, can often impact a patient’s mental health. The physical effects of hormone therapy encompass loss of muscle and bone mass, redistribution of fat, obesity, and diabetes, and these physical changes can induce worry and depression in patients. Seeking a Psychologist can help with supportive, cognitive and behaviorally oriented therapies. Always speak with your doctor about prescribed antidepressants and medication as some medications may reduce mental health barriers to improved coping.
Support groups are also a great way to help with decreasing anxiety and depression. There are some relaxation techniques that can be used such as deep breathing and meditation. Taking breaks from everyday routines can relieve your stress and help your mental health, so make time for things you enjoy. Physical activity is also a great help for your overall mental health. Talking to others who have similarly gone through or are currently dealing with prostate cancer and mental health related issues can help bring insight on dealing with your own mental health concerns. Always be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider if you are finding it hard to cope or having feelings of depression.