Depression at a glance
Depression—a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest—is common among people with cancer. Depression is linked to some body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more factors related to cancer, and even to cancer outcomes. Identifying and managing depression may be important in your cancer treatment plan.
Symptoms include sadness, loss of motivation or interest in activities, trouble focusing or making decisions, and many more. Triggers for depression include feelings of grief, despair, anxiety, or pain. Many people have a diagnosis of both depression and anxiety.
Complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture approaches can help you manage depression. Mind-body therapiesapproaches that enhance your mind’s capacity to positively affect your body’s function and symptoms. Some interventions focus on calming your mind, improving focus, enhancing decision-making capacity, managing stress, or resolving conflict. Other interventions have a goal of relaxing both your mind and your body., some supplements and natural products, and therapies that manipulate your body or bioenergy fields have been helpful for some people. Depression may also be a symptom of stress. If stress is contributing to your depression, managing your stress will be important in reducing it.
Seek professional help if needed. Diagnoses such as depression can require therapy from trained practitioners for management. We encourage you to explore the options available to you through your cancer team and others. Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.
Top practices and therapies for managing depression
The effects of these practices and therapies on depression are described on What approaches can help you manage depression? ›
Therapies and practices we have reviewed
Therapies recommended in clinical practice guidelines but that we haven’t yet reviewed; see
Music and arts therapies
Omega-3 fatty acids
St. John’s wort
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM)
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- Supportive/expressive therapy
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