Why a Cardiac Crisis Can Also Be a Mental Health Issue

By American Heart Association News


TUESDAY, May 23, 2023 (American Heart Association News) — The physical needs of someone recovering from a heart attack, cardiac arrest or major heart surgery can be easy to understand. For many people, the mental and emotional healing may be less so.

Issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress regularly affect not just patients but their loved ones, experts say, and have a direct influence on healing.

“Addressing depression is important,” said Julie Cunningham, a clinical health psychologist who works with cardiac patients at Samaritan Medical Group in Corvallis, Ore. “Not just for mental health – it’s actually really important for cardiac health, too.”

Patients who have depression recover more slowly after heart surgery, she said. “They are going to have a harder time engaging in and completing programs like cardiac rehab, which are really, really important to their recovery,” she said. And

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