Neurological conditions significantly affect the brain. The slightest disturbance in a neuronal connection can cause severe damage. And it can ultimately cause significant lifestyle changes. Some may even result in severe mental and psychological problems. For instance, individuals can experience low mood and depression.
Similarly, getting a cancer diagnosis might be one of the most challenging experiences you can have in this lifetime. Finding out that you have cancer will make you feel the worst and heaviest emotions.
However, remember that there are various possibilities of treatment available. Having a healthy coping mechanism and a better outlook towards your treatment is needed to overcome cancer.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how counseling can address cancer-related mental health issues. Read on and learn more.
You are likely to experience anxiety after getting diagnosed with cancer. Surges of fear occur as you worry about the future of your relationships, family, and plans. The stress that you feel can trigger anxiety.
Counseling can help cancer patients manage their stress and effectively deal with their anxiety. Having an open dialogue about your stressors and triggers with a counselor will help you cope with anxiety. Counseling will help you adapt to your treatment and address any concerns that are affecting your mental health.
Cope With Depression
Your diagnosis might also be a depressing experience. While getting treated, you’ll feel that everything was taken from you. With all of these emotions unattended, it’s not a surprise that many cancer patients can go through episodes of depression.
There are many ways how depression can affect your life and make your experience with cancer more difficult. This may include:
- Weakened mental stability
- Hampered adjustment with your treatment
- Undermined will to live
- Compromised determination to have a successful treatment
- Possible friction in your relationships
- Negative effects on your general outlook in life
Counseling can help with depression. Your counselor can walk you through the heavy emotions you’re experiencing. They will also raise your awareness of other possible factors that contribute to your depression.
Address Relationship Issues During Their Treatment
Cancer will not only affect you as a person but also your current and future relationships. While some relationships may flourish, others won’t. The relationships include:
- Romantic relationships (spouse or partner)
- Family members
Married patients or those who are in long-term relationships can be affected by cancer. After the diagnosis, they may feel hopeless, depressed, and anxious. Cancer may also affect your relationship with your family and your children.
Here are some ways counseling might help with your relationship issues:
- Communicating Better
Counseling helps you communicate better with the people you care about. Talking about your feelings and letting your loved ones know what you feel builds firmer relationships.
Poor communication will only lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary stress.
- Changing Of Roles
Cancer may change your roles in your relationships. If you are the breadwinner of your family, you must come to terms with stepping out of that role while getting treatment. This kind of sudden shift may be confusing at first, but your counselor will facilitate this process.
- Addressing Intimacy Issues Between Partners
Some couples might have issues related to sexual health. Cancer treatment may take a toll on a person’s physical well-being, which might cause problems with intimacy.
Counselors will provide you with a safe place where you and your partner can discuss these issues. They can also provide suggestions on maintaining intimacy with each other or managing any sex-related side-effects of your treatment.
Increase Your Self-Awareness
Cancer treatment is a long and arduous journey, and you need all the strength to finish the journey strong. Having solid mental health is one key to making your treatment successful.
Counseling can help you increase your self-awareness. Being mindful of your mood, feelings, thought processes, and behavior is helpful when dealing with your thoughts and emotions.
You can analyze your thoughts if you have a strong sense of self-awareness. It enables you to identify thought processes that are harmful and self-destructive.
Self-awareness helps to develop healthy coping mechanisms and break bad habits that affect your mental health. As you become more self-aware, you can manage your stress properly and identify your triggers and stressors.
Your counselor may suggest activities to increase your self-awareness, such as:
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- Breathing exercises
Apart from the physical toll of cancer itself and the treatments, you might also experience mental strain similar to the mental strain people with neurologic conditions are susceptible to.
Remember that consulting with a counselor when dealing with any mental health issue is always an option. Suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions on top of a pre-existing condition, be it cancer or other conditions, will only be to your detriment.
For cancer, statistics show a higher mortality rate among those who have mental health disorders. The psychological stress could worsen the condition of a cancer patient.
Keep your mental health stable as it can greatly affect your treatment and overall condition. Seek professional help for your mental health needs and let some of your mental health burdens go. Focus on having a clearer mindset and dedicate all of your energy to getting better.