If you or someone you know has cancer you’ve probably discovered that the disease can affect more than your physical health: It can alter your mood, your relationships with others and your relationship with yourself.
Many patients and their loved ones also experience feelings of depression and helplessness when faced with a cancer diagnosis, and this common and complex issue is addressed in an excerpt from Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Supportive Care found in the resource section of the Ernest and Isadora Rosenbaum Library at Stanford’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
The “Coping With Depression” piece, written by clinical psychologist Andrew Kneier, PhD, walks the reader through various aspects of the topic, touching on ways cancer and depression are related, what you can do to protect yourself from negative feelings, and how to overcome such feelings. Perhaps one of the most interesting and helpful parts of the piece is its examination of how depression linked to cancer differs from other forms of depression:
Cancer patients often get depressed simply because having cancer can be a depressing experience. However, there is usually more to it than that. Most cancer patients are not clinically depressed. To varying degrees, they are frightened and upset, but this is not depression. When cancer causes depression, there are psychological or biological reasons for it. These causes are understandable, and they are treatable.
Whether you have cancer or not, the piece is worth a read.
Previously: Ernest and Isadora Rosenbaum Library: A free, comprehensive guide to living with cancer, Looking at cancer as a chronic illness, Emotional, social support crucial for cancer patients and Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel’s path west
Photo by Fiona Cullinan