Depression during cancer treatment: When it’s more than the blues

We all experience sadness, stress and anxiety sometimes. A cancer diagnosis can amplify these feelings, with the stress and anxiety it adds to your daily life and relationships. But in some cases, prolonged feelings of sadness, stress and anxiety might be more than the blues. They may be signs of clinical depression. With one in three people experiencing a major depressive episode in their lifetime, clinical depression is more common than many people realize. And a major life event like a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment – whether your own or that of a loved one – can trigger it. In fact, as many as 25% of cancer patients are dealing with depression. Watch for these signs of depression How can you tell when you are experiencing clinical depression vs. when you’re struggling with grief, sadness or even sleep deprivation? If you’re dealing with at least four or more of the following symptoms every day for two weeks or longer, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Loss of pleasure or interest in normal activities you once enjoyed, such as hobbies, socializing and/or sex A change in appetite Difficulty paying attention or concentrating Feelings of hopelessness Difficulty making decisions Inability to concentrate, focus or remember things Feeling worthless Increased agitation, anxiety and restlessness New physical complaints, such as headaches, stomachaches, or muscle pain Lack of energy Change in sleep habits Feeling a sense of doom or preoccupation with thoughts of death Thoughts of harming yourself It’s worth noting that many of these symptoms – such as insomnia, a foggy memory, fatigue and appetite changes – are also common side effects...