Cancer is an illness that takes a toll on the physical and mental health of the patient. Anger, frustration, depression, fear… A patient goes through extreme emotional turmoil when the disease is diagnosed. Coming to know about a potentially fatal disease is a devastating moment for patients and their loved ones. In addition to that, it brings fundamental changes to the way a person lives life. Living with limitations, going through cancer treatment protocols can be a depressing experience for many patients. That is why the mental health of the patient cannot be overlooked during the course of cancer treatment. Nephromed Speciality Healthcare, the best cancer hospital in Kenya not only offers the finest cancer treatment in Kenya but also takes care of the patient’s emotional and mental well-being.
Cancer’s Impact on the Patient’s Mental Health:
There are several reasons why cancer patients face mental health issues after diagnosis. Some are:
- Losing the ability to be independent.
- Plummeting energy levels
- Inability to get involved in hobbies or enjoyment activities
- Restrictions imposed and coping with the new lifestyle
Cancer treatments further contribute to depression and anxiety. Chemotherapy, the most preferred course of cancer treatment can cause fatigue, depression, mental fog, and cognitive impairment. This side effect is known as chemo brain. A research carried out by the American Cancer Society suggests that there is a deep connection between chemo brain and depression. One cannot overlook the side effects of radiation such as fatigue, nausea, and depression.
What are the Common Mental Health Problems Faced by Cancer Patients?
Most cancer patients experience extreme levels of stress, anxiety, and depression as they find it difficult to cope with the new conditions. These are known as adjustment disorders. It diminishes the patient’s strength and ability to deal with traumatic situations.
Is there any Treatment for Cancer Patient’s Mental Health Conditions?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. After special considerations, cancer patients can receive treatment for mental health conditions. It may vary from simply boosting the patient’s spirit and encouraging a positive attitude to remind him that it will get better as time passes. Based on the patient’s condition, it is important to put the required emphasis on rising mental health issues and resolving them in the right manner so that the patient can recover faster.
What is the Solution?
Cancer patients need psychotherapy even if they do not have extreme mental conditions. A licensed psychotherapist or psychologist can understand the patient’s concerns very well and provide them valuable guidance to stay mentally strong during the course of treatment. After assessing the patient’s condition, the expert may guide what kind of treatment the patient requires.
What are the Treatment Options?
There are two main treatment options for addressing mental health issues faced by the cancer patient- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). Both have proven to be successful in treating cancer patients’ mental health issues. Only after proper assessment, a medical professional can suggest which therapy will have a better effect on the patient.
1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): When we put energy into thinking about stressful events of our lives, it becomes even more difficult to sail through it. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a trained professional teaches you how you can alter your thought process from negative to positive. It fills you with the confidence that coping with and coming out of cancer is possible and you can move on in life even with the disease. CBT helps patients manage stressful experiences.
2. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT): It focuses more on mindful exercises like breathing exercises, discussion therapy, a modification for anxiety, depression, and developing coping skills. Even meditation works wonders for some patients.
When the patient is unable to manage stress after receiving behavioural therapies, the medical professional may recommend antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to handle symptoms of mental health condition. One should not forget that mental health plays an important role in recovering from a disease like cancer. The patient should never overlook the symptoms of mental health conditions and reach out to the healthcare professionals the moment he feels helpless or hopeless.