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HIV AIDS and Mental Health

hiv and mental health

HIV AIDS and Mental Health. A diagnosis of a particular disease or infection can severely impact an individual’s mental health. It is normal to feel sad and grief after knowing your health status. However, the intensity can tend to be more severe for individuals living with HIV. Those who receive a positive result after an HIV test may experience shock, anxiety, fear leading to various mental health issues.

Being diagnosed with HIV means making big adjustments to your lifestyle. This can lead to major stress. It affects how you deal with your daily activities, perspectives and the way you respond. Additionally, the need to follow your daily medication can be taxing both emotionally and financially.

Of all the mental health disorders that HIV can trigger, depression is the most prominent. This disorder does not only affect how the mind functions, it also affects how your body moves and operates.

What are the symptoms of depression associated with HIV complications? These are as follows:

  • Anxious all the time
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild to severe headache
  • Episodes of stomachaches
  • Concentration problems
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Guilt and helplessness
  • Thoughts of suicide

HIV does not cause depression. However, the thought of the social stigma associated with this condition, the judgment of people around you, and daily antiviral medications can severely affect your mental state.

HIV can make your body weak and feeble. It makes you susceptible to different diseases and opportunistic infections. Taking care of mental health is key in HIV as lot of time, the body is unable to respond to the treatment with a compromised mental health. As a result, you become more vulnerable to advanced HIV-related complications.

In terms of treatment, you may need to take other forms of medicines, besides the usual HIV medications, for your mental condition. However, it would help if you also learn about the possible side effects of these medications and possibilities of drug interactions.

Besides medicinal treatment, you can also resort to different mental health care programs to ease your burdens and depression.

HIV support groups can also be an option today. By meeting more people living with HIV, you can share your feelings and emotions about your condition and exchange thoughts, ideas and experiences.

What else alleviate your mental distress? First, you need to exercise regularly. By exercising, you improve your physical and mental condition. Note that exercising can do wonders to your body by the brain’s release of endorphins. These are types of bodily chemicals that nourish your mood. Second, you can simply meditate at home. This practice eases symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Always stay in contact with your healthcare professional during your HIV treatment. This will help you report your condition if you are experiencing depression or other mental disorders.

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