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What Should I Know About Mental Health and Mesothelioma?


Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles. The cancer is so aggressive that many patients often receive a bleak prognosis. This prognosis often leaves patients feeling hopeless and fearful of the future. These feelings, coupled with the patient’s physical decline, can contribute to mental illnesses, such as depression.

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is already difficult, however, adding a mental illness can make it feel impossible. Although it may feel daunting, it is crucial that a patient addresses their mental illness. One way to do this is by hiring a lawyer. A qualified lawyer can help a patient focus on their family and friends during a legal battle. Lawyers can also help a victim gain financial alleviation for their medical bills, lost wages, treatments, and pain and suffering.

How Does a Cancer Diagnosis Affect Mental Health?

Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is emotionally difficult. Many patients begin acquainting themselves with their new normal, which might include giving up their independence or daily routine. Similarly, their physical state might affect their mental health. There are a multitude of reasons, however, it is important to address each patient’s feelings and concerns.

A cancer diagnosis affects mental health due to the innate fear of death. No matter one’s age, the idea of death is often scary. A mesothelioma patient might have to address death frequently, like when they receive their prognosis, making arrangements, and witnessing their physical decline. This can become emotionally difficult for a mesothelioma patient.

A patient’s mental health might also be affected by treatments. Many cancer treatment options come with long-lasting side effects, including depression and anxiety. Patients on chemotherapy often report having “chemo brain,” a mental fog associated with the treatment. Similarly, dealing with the physical pain of surgery can lead to a mental illness.

Finally, a patient might struggle with a mental illness if they feel angry or guilty about their asbestos exposure. Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma faced asbestos exposure at their jobs. Those dealing with a diagnosis might feel anger toward their employer for being negligent. Ultimately, their negligence contributed to the patient’s diagnosis. Mesothelioma patients are encouraged to contact a lawyer to help hold companies accountable.

What are the Signs of Depression?

Depression is a mental illness that can have a significant impact on an individual’s mood. Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide or actual attempts
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Feeling restless or easily agitated
  • Trouble focusing or remembering
  • Feeling sad for most of the day
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Loss of interest, even in favorite activities

Both friends and family should keep depression symptoms in mind. This is because depression is prevalent in cancer patients. In fact, the National Cancer Institute found that 25 percent of those diagnosed with cancer deal with depression and anxiety. In contrast, only seven percent of the general population suffer from depression and anxiety.

How Can I Address My Mental Illness?

Many people struggling with mental illness avoid addressing the topic; however, this can make things worse for the individual. Instead, it is crucial that patients find an outlet that works for them and their needs. This can help alleviate the pain associated with the illness.

One way to address a mental illness is to find others going through it. Many people take advantage of support groups specifically involving mental illness associated with a cancer diagnosis. A cancer patient might feel understood when listening to others. It can also be a safe place for a patient to voice their own frustrations and find tools to help.

The second tip is to take care of the body. This may seem like a simple tip, but it is often overlooked. Patients with depression should try to stay active, keep a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. This helps boost endorphins, which can help improve mood. Taking care of oneself is also therapeutic and can help reduce physical pain associated with the illness.

Finally, those diagnosed with mesothelioma should take legal action. Taking legal action may sound like the least of one’s worries, yet, it can help patients in several ways.

It can help alleviate the financial burdens associated with the diagnosis. This is because patients are entitled to financial compensation if their asbestos exposure was due to negligence. However, hiring a lawyer also helps alleviate emotional pain associated with the diagnosis. Taking legal action helps hold a company accountable for their negligence. This can help a patient heal.

How is COVID-19 Impacting Mental Health?

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people globally; however, mesothelioma patients are facing unique struggles. This is because COVID-19 is adding to the difficulties that those with mesothelioma already face on a daily basis. Although avoiding social interaction is necessary, it adds to the loneliness a mesothelioma patient already feels. Ultimately, this new normal likely contributes to a patient’s mental illness.

Mesothelioma patients also need to worry about contracting the virus. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. This type affects the lining of the lungs, leading to coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. COVID-19 also affects the lungs and breathing, making these patients particularly vulnerable to the virus. Similarly, patients are also vulnerable because they already experience most of the symptoms involved with COVID-19. This can make it difficult to know when symptoms are related to COVID-19 or if they are related to mesothelioma.

This is a particularly difficult time for mesothelioma patients. This time could lead to mental illness, so it is important that patients actively take steps to promote mental health. Talking to family and friends, keeping a consistent routine, avoiding excess screen time, and monitoring news consumption can help with mental health. Patients should also stay informed of how COVID-19 is affecting their area and prepare to take action if they become sick.

What are Some Techniques I Can Use During an Episode?

During a depressive episode, it can be difficult to ground oneself in reality. This is because the feelings associated with a mental illness are often so overwhelming. Many times, this can take an individual out of their surroundings. One way to help with this response is to utilize the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique. This technique helps a person to ground themselves again.

Before this technique, experts suggest focusing on breathing. After this is done, the patient should acknowledge five things in their surroundings. Next, they should touch four things. This could be a rug, a table, or anything else in their environment. After doing this, they should acknowledge three sounds in their environment. It is important that these sounds are external to the body and not internal thoughts. Instead, patients should listen for birds or music. Next, the patient should acknowledge two smells in their surroundings. Finally, they should focus on one taste. Ultimately, this helps to provide immediate relief during an episode.

Another technique a patient can use is practicing breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can help a person calm their heart rate and lower stress levels. Experts suggest that the individual takes longer exhales than inhales to calm the nervous system. The patient should also focus on their breathing and try to avoid thinking negative thoughts. One way to focus solely on breathing is by trying to alternate nostrils while breathing. This can help calm a patient down during an anxiety attack.

Legal Counsel is Important

After a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to contact a lawyer. A lawyer will handle the legalities of a mesothelioma case so that a patient can heal. A lawyer will evaluate the victim’s case and help them obtain compensation.

Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Help Those Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need to contact one of tel:our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our lawyers understand how difficult a mesothelioma diagnosis is for a family. We help families seek both financial and emotional alleviation for the diagnosis. If you are interested in talking to a qualified lawyer, contact us online or call us at 215-569-4000 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.