Dealing with mood swings after treatment

July 05, 2017 | by Alexander Hantel, M.D.

Just like a cancer diagnosis can bring on a variety of emotions, the end of cancer treatment can mess with your mood in other ways.

Think about it. You go from being intensely focused on treatment and trying to beat the disease, to trying to figure out a “new normal” once treatment is over.

Adjusting to this new reality after cancer can bring on all sorts of emotions. Some people experience depression or anxiety. Others deal with intense mood swings. Some may even have personality changes.

While strong emotions are often expected during treatment, they can be more difficult to recognize or accept once treatment is complete.

Be on the look-out for these common symptoms of cancer-related mood changes, provided by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network:

  • Feeling down or depressed
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • Loss of sexual interest or problems with sexual performance
  • Irritability Changeable emotions (sudden crying or anger)
  • Loss of interest in activities, social events and socializing
  • Changes in sleep (insomnia or excessive sleeping)
  • Changes in appetite (overeating or loss of appetite)
  • Loss of energy and motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • A feeling that life is not worth living; suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Increasing interest in alcohol
  • Frequent or excessive worry, unease or fear
  • Upset stomach or other physical symptoms
  • Panic attacks

If you are concerned that your mood changes are getting in the way of your daily life, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help recommend support groups or other avenues for assistance.

You can also try to manage your mood swings by:

  • Identifying and avoiding sources of stress that cause changes in mood
  • Exercising to help relieve stress, focus your energy and balance your emotions
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Eating healthy snacks and small meals throughout the day
  • Considering complimentary and holistic techniques such as yoga, meditation, massage or acupuncture
  • Talking about your emotions with friends, a counselor or your doctor

With a better understanding of how to manage your emotions, as time passes, you may find yourself feeling better and adjusting to your new life after cancer.

How do you stay positive? Tell us in the below comments.

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