If you are living with HIV, it is important for you to be aware of the current state of your mental health. Individuals who are living with HIV are twice as likely to suffer from depression and other mental health conditions than people who do not have HIV.
Many people living with HIV experience high levels of stress. Some of these stressors include struggling with the loss of relationships or social support, redefining self-acceptance, stigma and struggling to receive medical services. If you are questioning the state of your mental health, identifying the symptoms will allow you to take control and find the HIV support that is right for you.
Common Mental Health Issues
Whether you have been living with HIV for an extended period of time or recently discovered you are positive, there is chance your mental health is suffering. The two most common mental health issues that affect people living with HIV are:
Signs of Depression and Anxiety
If you have noticed any of the following symptoms, you should discuss depression and anxiety with your medical provider as soon as possible:
- Persistent sadness or hopelessness
- Overanalyzing life choices
- Negativity toward yourself and others
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of appetite
- Tightness in chest
- Sleeping more or less than usual
Healthy Ways to Fight Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are experienced differently by each individual; therefore, treatment also comes in a variety of forms. Here are a few ways to fight back against depression and anxiety.
Mental Health Professionals. Whether you prefer to visit a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist, these medical professionals are dedicated to providing you with the resources you need to help improve your mental health.
Exercise. We all know that exercise is good for your body; it is beneficial to your mental health as well. It can get you out of the house and release feel-good endorphins, helping to fight depression and anxiety.
HIV Support Groups. It is easy to get stuck inside your head and seclude yourself from those around you. HIV support groups help you connect with people who are experiencing the same obstacles you are and gives you a sense of community.
HIV Treatment. Seeking the treatment you need to manage your HIV will allow you to feel better day to day and give you hope for the future.
It is time to take back the confidence you once had and get the HIV support you deserve. At Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania, we can help connect you with the resources you need to take control of your HIV. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, contact us today.