WHAT IS THE EMOTIONAL REACTION TO A HEART ATTACK: HOW SHOULD ONE REACT?

How should one change one's attitude in order to adjust more easily to the consequences of a heart attack?

It must be emphasized that it is impossible to generalize about reactions to a heart attack. Obviously the reaction of someone who tends to repress and dissimulate reality is certainly quite different from the reaction of someone who tends to withdraw into a depression from which there appears to be no escape.

A narrow escape from death causes fear in everyone, although some persons are able to conceal it from others and sometimes even from themselves. In the days and weeks which pass after a heart attack, all patients at some time wonder about the meaning of their past and future life. At some point either in the intensive care unit, the rehabilitation center or at home, every patient goes through a phase in which the fear of death becomes a fear of life.

The crucial question then becomes: "How shall it continue?"

In our experience, patients who confront this question directly and make no attempt to evade it are likely to begin a new, happy life after the heart attack. They must summon all their courage to successfully overcome this phase of reflection and loneliness which has been called the 'journey through the desert' by more religious patients. A heart attack is not simply a minor mishap, but is instead a major event in the life of the patient and has great bearing on the remainder of his or her life. Moreover, as a Dutch cardiologist once said, there are more problems to be resolved in the patient's mind than in his heart. We therefore hope that your physician will also be a trusted companion who will be able to help you in overcoming this experience.

Such a physician plays an even more important, but also a more difficult role when surgery is required. Anyone who may need surgery is likely to see it only as a threat at first and will view it with fear, or at the very least, with mixed feelings.

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Cardio & Blood/Cholesterol