Link Between Atrial Fibrillation & Depression, Anxiety

Atrial fibrillation is a heart disease which is characterized by irregular heart rhythm. Abnormal heartbeat can affect the blood flow and can lead to stroke, heart failure, and other heart complications. Atrial fibrillation is a very common health problem, increasing worldwide. Most of the people who suffer from Atrial fibrillation, present the symptom of mood disorder. Studies show that every third person who suffers from heart disease also has anxiety and depression as a symptom.

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The level of anxiety and depression are affected by the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

How Can Atrial Fibrillation Lead To Depression And Anxiety?

There is a complex relationship between atrial fibrillation and depression.

Physiological stress is commonly seen in the patient suffering from atrial fibrillation. Such people decline in their household and leisure activities, are unsatisfied with their work, and their social and sexual life is also affected.

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There is a lot of anxiety and negative feelings present because of this condition which further leads to depression.

Depression not only affects the brain and behavior but the entire body. It is the major cause of suicidal death. Increase in stress increases the production of adrenalin hormone, which interferes with the electrical activity of the heart. This further leads to more atrial fibrillation.

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Both atrial fibrillation and depression play a good role in worsening the symptom of each other, in other words, the patient is caught up in this vicious circle. Stress generates atrial fibrillation and atrial fibrillation worsens stress.

How Treating Atrial Fibrillation Can Help Treat Anxiety And Depression?

Ablation is a treatment procedure in which the heart tissue responsible for producing irregular heart waves are removed or destroyed.

A study showed approximately one-third of atrial fibrillation patients had elevated levels of depression and anxiety, with the depression symptom being the strongest(1).

Various studies and researches conducted show that this procedure (Ablation) reports a lower level of depression and anxiety in the patient when compared with those taking drugs to regulate heartbeat(3). The patient who has been treated by ablation also has reported no longer having suicidal thoughts.

A study was conducted and it was observed that the individuals bearing type D personality have a 3.69 fold increased risk of depression and 2.72-fold increased risk for anxiety(2). If this personality trait is identified, it could be more helpful for healthcare providers to focus their attention on it.

The physician also needs to broaden their approach in managing many chronic illnesses for the well being of the patient.

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Outcome

As the atrial fibrillation is treated the psychological distress also reduces, and so does the symptoms of anxiety and depression. People start following the needed lifestyle adjustments which they would not even bother to in their depressed state. The lifestyle changes are as follows:

These lifestyle changes can further help in the atrial fibrillation outcome and also prevent other complicated heart diseases. Control over the atrial fibrillation symptoms can prevent the recurrence of the symptoms of depression and psychological stress.

If having symptoms of depression or anxiety, consult your doctor. He may guide you the specialist trained in mental health condition. This can be helpful in the treatment.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 11, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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