Heart Failure and Depression: Effective Treatments
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heart failure and depression effective treatments

Heart Failure and Depression: Effective Treatments

By Alan B. Densky, CH

Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is quickly becoming one of the most common chronic health conditions. People who develop CHF are forced to make many changes in their lives, which can trigger stress and depression. Ericksonian hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques provide ways to relax and find peace and tranquility, without the negative side effects of medications.


Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is quickly becoming one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Nearly five million people currently live with this disease, and half a million more are diagnosed with it each year. Although many people develop mild forms of CHF, this illness can quickly become disabling and greatly interfere with daily living. 

People who develop congestive heart failure experience many changes from their previous daily routines. They must take medications to relieve fluid buildup and to reduce the work performed by their heart muscle. Some of these cause depression and fatigue. Often, these drugs can impair physical intimacy with a spouse or significant other. They can also cause other undesirable side effects, like loss of appetite, Insomnia, coughing, and even weight gain. 


Another problem that people with CHF encounter is the need for major diet changes. Many must stop eating red meat, avoid foods high in fat and salt, or even restrict the amount of fluids they drink each day. They find that they cannot eat their favorite foods, or at the very least, must eat them sparingly. Often, they are encouraged to lose weight and exercise to keep their bodies as fit as possible. 

The problem with trying to lose weight or exercise is that many people diagnosed with congestive heart failure no longer have the energy to engage in the same level of physical activity that they did before. Instead, they must confine themselves to watching while friends and family members play volleyball, swim, or jog. This leads to isolation, grief and loneliness. In addition, many sufferers report mourning their loss of physical strength and energy.

Many patients who experience this loss of physical energy have developed heart problems that are sufficiently severe to prevent them from working. People who have not yet reached the age of retirement often find themselves suddenly unable to work. They suddenly find themselves faced with the struggle of gaining disability payments from social security. 

In addition to resulting in enormous amounts of financial stress and anxiety, this sudden inability to work can increase feelings of social isolation and loneliness. People who rely on work to meet their needs for friendship, and socialization find themselves at home alone. Instead of exchanging friendly banter with the person at the neighboring desk, they find themselves staring at the television while everyone else continues to live as before. 

Sometimes, people take anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications in an attempt to cope with these losses. Others may opt for counseling or group therapies to assist them with meeting socialization needs and working through the grief induced by their newly restricted lifestyle. 

A newer, more effective way of coping with this kind of depression, however, has gained recent attention and achieved almost instant popularity among clients who have tried it. Furthermore, unlike medications or counseling therapies, this technique is very economical. People can learn to use it without experiencing further financial hardship. 

This approach, which utilizes a combination of Ericksonian hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), assists people to learn to relax and find peace and tranquility in their daily lives. These techniques assist people to accept the new restrictions in their lives while encouraging them to continue living life to the fullest extent that they are able. Even depression that occurs because of medication can be easily treated through the successful use of the techniques available through hypnosis and NLP. Two such techniques are anchoring and the Flash.

Ericksonian Hypnosis is often called conversational hypnosis. It offers techniques for providing post-hypnotic suggestions embedded in a conversation or metaphor. The benefit of this technique is that it eliminates the resistance to direct suggestions that is almost always encountered when using more traditional forms of hypnotherapy.

Through the use anchoring, consulting hypnotists and NLP Practitioners coach clients to focus on happy thoughts and situations from the past where they felt calm and in control. As the client becomes engrossed in these memories, they are able to re-experience those positive feelings. The individual then learns to make a physical anchor for these feelings by touching two fingers together. The unconscious mind creates a link between the physical touch of the two fingers, and the good feelings. Later, when the client encounters a stressful or depressing moment, they trigger the anchor by touching together the two fingers, which re-creates the sensations of peace and tranquility. 

The Flash technique is also very helpful to people who are struggling to overcome depression. The Flash technique programs the mind to automatically use the negative thoughts that are causing stress and depression, as triggers for positive thoughts that will create relaxation and happiness. With practice, people soon find themselves almost unable to think negative thoughts!

Summary: People with congestive heart failure often experience depression because of grieving over loss of their physical health and strength. Other factors that can contribute to their depression include medications and financial stresses. Both Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP offer excellent techniques for helping people cope with depression without having to spend enormous amounts of time and money.


© 2007 By Alan B. Densky, CH.  This document may NOT be re-printed without permission. All Rights Reserved.  We are happy to syndicate our articles to approved websites.

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