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HIV AIDS and Depression

hiv depression

HIV AIDS and Depression. A lot can happen following an HIV diagnosis. From observing antiretroviral therapy to boosting your immune system to fight the infection, your lifestyle can change so suddenly.

In these testing times, experiencing depression is understandable.

What are the feelings associated with depression? The following signs best describe how a person with depression experiences:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of interest
  • Worthlessness
  • Guilt
  • Regret
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis

These symptoms clearly interfere with how we deal with our daily life activities. Without proper treatment, this mental health disorder can severely impact and increase the intensity of the existing infection.

How can depression affect someone’s HIV therapy?

After an HIV diagnosis, an individual experiences sadness and grief. These are the common emotions that people feel after knowing their status. If there is no resolution to these emotions, they can transform into a mental health disorder called depression. This time, it can negatively affect how their body and mind respond to their HIV therapy.

While it’s true that HIV does not trigger this mental disorder, it paves the way for this condition to occur in some way. How? The following factors will explain how HIV opens doors for depression.

  • Receiving a positive HIV result
  • Speaking to a friend or family member about your status
  • Taking regular HIV medications
  • Admission to hospitals
  • Physical afflictions
  • Advancement to AIDS
  • Change in lifestyle
  • Fear of death
  • The expenses involved in HIV management

All these factors scan lead to depression. That is why regular visits to your healthcare professional can help in managing your condition and staying positive while on your therapy. However, report your status to your healthcare professional immediately if you are already experiencing the following severe signs of depression.

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low sexual drive
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Agitated feeling
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Psychomotor disturbance

Anti-depression medications are often prescribed to HIV patients especially if their psychological condition is limiting their life. Lack of treatment can complicate the infection.

To ensure that you get the most out of your therapy, you can follow these tips:

  • Exercise daily
  • Continue with your HIV and depression medications (if prescribed)
  • Abstain from drinking alcohol
  • Attend counselling sessions
  • Take confidence in someone you trust and speak up.

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