Tag Archives: PTSD after heart attack

No such thing as a “small” heart attack

18 Jul

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

As I have written here earlier: 

“There are few life events more stressful, in my considered opinion, than surviving a heart attack.

“Not only is the actual cardiac event a traumatic and overwhelming experience in itself, but what very few cardiologists tell us before they boot us out the hospital door is how debilitating the day-to-day angst about every subsequent bubble and twinge can actually be.  Continue reading

How we adapt after a heart attack may depend on what we believe this diagnosis means

25 Oct

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

There are at least 12 commonly used measurement tools available to the medical profession that look at how patients navigate “the search for meaning in chronic illness”. Clinical tools like the Psychosocial Adjustment To Illness Inventory or the Meaning of Illness Questionnaire have been used on cancer and AIDS patients, as well as others living with chronic disease. But research, including this study, found, alas, that limiting factors in the success of these tools included “the infrequent use of some of the instruments clinically or in research.”

I can’t help but wonder why these readily available assessment tools are not being administered routinely to patients who have been freshly diagnosed with heart disease – a serious medical crisis that begs to be examined for its influence on our “psychosocial adjustment” to it. I only learned about these tools two years after my own heart attack.

This lack of medical attention to the profound psychological impact of a cardiac event is disturbing. As Dr. Gilles Dupuis of the Université du Québec and the Montreal Heart Institute reported in the the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, post-traumatic stress disorder following heart attack is a largely under-diagnosed and unrecognized phenomenon that can actually put survivors at risk of another attack. Continue reading

Depressing news about depression and women’s heart disease

3 Jul

.by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Women suffering from depression have higher risks of developing heart disease, and women with heart disease have higher risks of becoming depressed. I find this reality a bit depressing…

I was stunned to find myself in that latter group within weeks of my own heart attack. With no personal experience of depression, I knew something was terribly wrong with me, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what that might be. I had just survived a massive heart attack – shouldn’t I be feeling fabulous and grateful?  Continue reading