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What are the Symptoms of Depression?

May 23, 2017

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Many cancer patients experience sadness and grief for a number of reasons. Change in life plans, physical changes, pain, side effects of treatment, loss of day-to-day routines, end-of-life concerns and financial worries may contribute to feeling depressed. Untreated depression can make it harder to enjoy usual activities and follow treatment plans.

Depression is more than feeling sad.  It can be normal for cancer patients to feel sad throughout the course of their diagnosis and treatment, but depression is a more serious condition that needs attention. Depression is when an individual has any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:

  • Feeling sad most of the time almost every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Changes in sleep (sleeping too much or not able to fall asleep)
  • Changes in eating (loss of appetite, overeating, weight loss or gain)
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or hopeless
  • Trouble with concentrating, memory, or making decisions
  • Feeling like life is not worth living or thoughts of hurting yourself – seek medical attention right away

Some of these symptoms can also be side effects of your cancer treatment. Talk to your healthcare team about the symptoms you are experiencing and tell them if you are concerned about how you are feeling. 

Moffitt Resources for Patients

  • Supportive Care Medicine (813) 745-4630. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are available. Talk to your doctor or nurse for an appointment referral.
  • Spiritual and Chaplaincy Care (813) 745-2856. Clinically trained chaplains are available for spiritual counseling and support.
  • Oncology Social Work (813) 745-8407. Oncology social workers can help you cope with cancer and the effects on you and your family, find helpful resources, and help link you to support groups.
  • Integrative Medicine Clinic (813) 745-6052.  Offers safe and effective complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation for stress reduction and relaxation.