With an estimated 1,228,600 new cancer cases expected to be diagnosed this year alone, the odds of you receiving a cancer diagnosis yourself are high. Finding out that you have cancer can prompt immediate medical attention, but caring for your emotional health can be equally important when battling cancer.
Here are three reasons why you should make it a priority to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist if you are diagnosed with cancer.
1. To help you combat substance abuse.
Many cancer patients are prescribed painkillers to help manage pain levels while going through chemotherapy or radiation. Prolonged reliance on pain killers could cause you to develop an addiction to these opioids.
By taking the time to visit with a psychiatrist regularly once you have been diagnosed with cancer, you will be able to recognize the signs of addiction (like crushing pills to snort or taking pills even when you don't feel pain) and get the help you need to keep substance abuse at bay.
2. To help you battle depression.
It's not uncommon for someone receiving a cancer diagnosis to experience feelings of sadness or loss. You may feel like you are losing control of your body, or that your health will never return. A cancer diagnosis can seem hopeless, and these feelings of loss can lead to depression.
If you find that you are experiencing some symptoms of depression for two weeks or longer, you may need help coping with your emotions. Talking with an experienced psychiatrist can help you work through your feelings in order to find relief. A psychiatrist can also prescribe an anti-depressant that won't interfere with the effectiveness of your cancer treatments when necessary.
3. To help you learn to deal with stress.
Many people who are diagnosed with cancer begin to feel a tremendous amount of stress. Whether you are worrying about how you will pay for treatment, how your family members will react to your diagnosis, or whether or not you will recover, stress can have a negative impact on the efficacy of your cancer treatments.
Chronic stress can contribute to an increase in the growth of cancer cells, and it can compromise your immune system. Working with a psychiatrist to help you learn practical ways to cope with your stress can be extremely beneficial once you have been diagnosed with cancer.
Caring for your mental health with the help of a psychiatrist like Kay M. Shilling MD PC can be an essential component in your cancer treatment plan.