Depression among Cancer Survivors & the Role of Hypnotherapy

By Jamie Lewis on June 20, 2011

A research sited on “The Cancer Survivor’s Companion” written by Dr Frances Goodhart and Lucy Atkins showed that 25-40 percent of cancer survivors may experience some form of depression after recovering from such disease. According to the book, even though more people are now surviving cancer, there are an increasing number of survivors that are struggling with life after the disease. When they should be happy and positive about a new life waiting ahead, cancer survivors are still suffering from major depression.

Anxiety and Depression of Cancer Survivors

Cancer has been one of the most terrifying diseases that ever distressed mankind. Before, this disease is incurable. A cancer patient will remain a patient until he dies. There was no such term as survival. But now, as the advancement in the medical world approaches and scientists continue to develop more viable treatments for it, cancer is becoming a less serious disease that can be helped by varying number of treatments. Nonetheless, a considerable number of cancer survivors are feeling disheartened and depressed.

However, a study published in the Journal of Oncology found out that patients who were able to conquer cancer have been going through depression- showing considerable symptoms such as crying and mood swings, hopelessness, and inability to experience pleasure. The study cited more than 1/3 of breast cancer survivors suffer from fatigue and associated with higher level of anxiety, pain and sleep disorders. Experts referred to the following effects of cancer treatments:

Fatigue- this feeling of frequent tiredness and relentlessness is one of the depressing side effects of cancer treatments including drugs, procedures (such as chemotherapy), and other medications. The weariness and exhaustion are experienced by cancer survivors physically and mentally. Other causes of fatigue may be accounted to hormonal changes.

Pain- pain is a common side effect of medications and treatments. It usually occurs during the recovery period and most of cancer survivors suffer from it. This leads to discomfort, sleep interruptions, and mood swings.

Anxiety- though it’s true that many patients survive cancer, the whole experience are actually nightmares that they wouldn’t forget. Add the fact that they had their breasts removed. Many people are no longer as active and lively after the treatment and there is always the fear that the disease may return even though their doctors assured them it will not.

Hypnotherapy to Relieve Cancer Survivors

The only way to relive them so far is to slowly change the way they perceive their experience. Hypnotherapy includes the process of helping the patient get over the mental distress and anxiety that resulted from his/her painful experience. Such alternative therapy has been a popular method of treating depression.

Dr Goodhart pointed out that those who are going through low mood and severe depression brought about by their stern experiences as cancer patients may benefit from alternative therapies and treatment which has no side effects. This includes counselling and hypnotherapy. Experts believe that hypnotism combined with local anaesthetic is incredibly beneficial to cancer patients and leads to faster recovery and discharge from the hospital. Dr David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine, California, also recommended the use of psychotherapy as an important component of treating cancer.

Alongside hypnotherapy, support from family and friends is indispensable for cancer survivors. After all, surviving cancer entails a wonderful brand new life ahead.

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