HIV and Depression
HIV and Depression
There’s a reason why part of managing HIV infection is taking care of our mental health. The stigma and discrimination that people get after being diagnosed with the said infection can eventually lead to depression, which is one of the biggest mental health disorders that people should consider and prevent.
According to studies, HIV is the primary source of stress. An HIV diagnosis can negatively impact someone’s well-being, most especially with the myths circulating around HIV. These myths or questions may include, “is HIV a death sentence?”, “is my declining health a complication of HIV?”, or “will I still live as normal people do?”.
While these questions have resolutions, you cannot deny the fact that it’s sanity and mental health that will be significantly affected. And what results from this dilemma? It will be depression.
Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects someone’s feelings, actions, and behavior. While it can be alarming, the condition is treatable. Today, oral medications are available to treat and control the illness while also improving someone’s mood, appetite, and energy levels. However, if proper treatment is not administered to people with depression, their emotional and physical health can also decrease their functions.
What are the symptoms of depression? Consider the following:
- Feeling sad
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Change in appetite
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Feeling of guilt
- Concentration problems
- Suicidal thoughts
How does HIV cause depression?
HIV itself does not cause depression. However, there are common points that may lead to the development of depression. These are as follows:
- HIV and AIDS diagnosis
- Severe HIV symptoms
- Being hospitalized often
- Regular consumption of HIV drugs
- Progress of the infection
- Stigma and discrimination
Another factor as to why depression occurs is telling your family or friends about your HIV diagnosis. You do not know what their response will be. Are they going to be remorseful toward you? Will they be ashamed of your diagnosis? Or will they be your support while on your treatment?
There can be a lot of questions to throw, but at the end of them, a person’s mental health can become distrustful. It will affect self-esteem, confidence, and trust, which can eventually disturb the ongoing treatment.
How to treat depression due to HIV?
Attending local support groups can help treat depression. Sometimes, connecting with other people with the same condition can lighten up the burden. You can share your experiences, or you can listen to their struggles. This way, your uneasiness will reduce, and your trust in other people will be restored. You can also attend therapy sessions to cope with the challenges you are experiencing from the initial HIV diagnosis until today.