Depression is a mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and grief. While 5-20 percent of the general population suffers from depression, the rates for those with HIV run as high as 60 percent. Depression in HIV positive patients is typically caused by HIV-induced brain injuries, medication imbalances or clinical psychological factors.
If you have HIV and are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to seek out the services of a healthcare professional.
UNM Truman Health Services
UNM Truman Health Services is dedicated to providing the highest level of care for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Proper treatment of HIV includes medical treatment and behavioral health support services to address all aspects of the disease and improve the patient’s quality of life. The center provides a wide array of therapeutic, diagnostic and psychiatric services including medication management, diagnostic assessments, psychiatric consultations, counseling, psychotherapy and neuropsychological assessments.
Since HIV treatments are physically and emotionally demanding, UNM Truman Health Services has developed a comprehensive program designed to provide a holistic approach to HIV treatment. There are a variety of complementary services offered including:
- Nutritional Care
- Complementary Medicine
- Massage Therapy
- Chiropractic Treatment
- Physical Medicine
- Wellness Programs
Managing Depression with HIV
Depression is difficult to cope with under any circumstances, but an HIV diagnosis adds an additional layer of stress and anxiety. While it is hard to overcome depression, these tips can help you manage the condition and lessen its debilitating effects.
- Look for a Medical Explanation: With the help of your physician and mental health expert, identify the cause of your depression. In some cases, changing your medication regimen will provide relief.
- Depression and Anxiety: People have different triggers for stress and anxiety, which often serve as a precursor for a depressive episode. Try and make a list of the specific events that create stress, and avoid scenarios that trigger negative emotions.
- Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle: Those who exercise, get eight hours of sleep and eat a healthy diet feel better and are less prone to bouts of anxiety and depression. A healthy lifestyle can also help reduce the impact of HIV and the associated therapies.
- Seek out a Support Group: Nearly every community provides resources and help for those living with HIV. Connecting with other people in the same circumstances fosters a sense of comfort, friendship and support.
Hope and Optimism
Fortunately, depression is a highly treatable disorder. Since many healthcare professionals are aware of the connection between depression and HIV, the affliction can usually be addressed as part of a comprehensive HIV treatment program.