It has been generally observed that women who have been diagnosed as being HIV-positive tend to suffer from depression a lot more than those who are healthy. Although it is no secret that people with HIV are perfectly capable of leading long, healthy and fulfilling lives, one can appreciate that many find their HIV-positive status a life-changer and can feel overwhelmed, scared, helpless and worried about their future and relationships with family and friends. The stigma associated with HIV often drives many women to isolate themselves from society and the feelings of anxiety and loneliness drive them to depression. Quite apart from the social factors there is also scientific evidence that people who have the HIV virus in their cerebral-spinal fluid are five times more likely to suffer from depression.
Living with HIV
With the improvement in HIV treatment, an increasing number of women with HIV are living longer. Studies have also established a direct connection between depression and poor health in patientsdiagnosed with HIV with an ELISA assay. Depressed women tend to seek treatment less frequently and do not take their medication as prescribed, which in turn makes the treatment less effective. If you are suffering from depression, it can make a great difference if you seek help to fight depression. Studies have revealed that the risk of mortality was cut by 50% when depressed women sought the assistance of a mental healthcare provider.
How Can You Fight Depression
There are quite a few ways in which depression can be treated. Even though it is possible for depression to improve by itself, the process is usually very slow and unpredictable. By taking recourse to one or more methods of treatment you can get better faster and stay on course of the HIV treatment. Countering depression through one or multiple methods can shorten the road to getting better and may even help you to retain your job or a valuable relationship.
Commonalty referred to as “talk therapy”, psychotherapy involves discussing what you are feeling with a trained professional so that you can understand what is actually troubling you. While personal counseling is more common, many participants have found value in engaging in group therapy. There is a great variety of professionals that you can tap ranging from psychologists and psychiatrists to therapists, social workers, and mental health counselors.
Participating in support groups with other women who are also suffering from HIV has been found to be very beneficial in countering depression. If you are feeling isolated and lonely, the company of other women can be very therapeutic and inspirational. Members of support groups often develop relationships to such as extent that they even chip in to help out physically when you are ill.
Antidepressant medications may be prescribed by your caregiver to help you get on top of depression, however, you should never take these medications without proper medical guidance as they can interact with your HIV drugs and produce adverse reactions. It is essential to disclose to your doctor all the medications that you are taking so that the treatment can be properly managed.
Complementary therapies like meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises, yoga and massage may be very effective in giving you relief from stress. Techniques like acupuncture and acupressure have also been used to great effect. Cognitive therapy, as well as physical activity and a good nutritious diet are conducive to staving off depression.
If you are feeling low and having trouble in taking your HIV medication as prescribed, you may be suffering from depression. It is best to consult your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms of depression for advice and treatment that can improve your quality of life and the HIV treatment.
Author bio: Andrew Thompson is a health correspondent of a prominent online resource. Andrew writes regularly on lifestyle diseases and HIV-AIDS detection and management, including the well-known ELISA assay. He has been writing articles for different blogs on Health, He loves to share his knowledge and expert tips with his readers.