The hepatitis C virus has a pesky way of lessening your supply of tryptophan, an essential substance in the production of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is your good mood good vibes neurotransmitter, so low serotonin can make you prone to depression when you’re battling hepatitis C.
It doesn’t help that hepatitis C is exhausting and can be isolating, or that interferon treatments can make symptoms worse. It does help that there are millions of other people going through the exact same thing, and a number of resources out there to support you and help you find ways to think positive on even your darkest days.
Be on the lookout for symptoms.
Sadness, fatigue, irritability, changes in sleep, changes in appetite, lack of motivation to do things you used to enjoy, and thoughts of death or suicide are all symptoms of depression. Sometimes we push down our feelings and ignore them until they’re unbearable, but recognizing and naming the problem is the first step to turning things around.
Talk to a healthcare professional.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor – or, if you’re more comfortable, ask your Health Advisor for a recommendation on where to go for help. If you’re on interferon, we’ll definitely recommend you go to your prescribing physician. New or worsening depression is a known side effect of interferon, so you may want to ask about other, newer treatment options that may be a better fit for you. You can also ask your doctor about SSRIs to treat hepatitis C-related depression.
Not yet a member of Pack Health?
If you’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you can currently enroll in Pack Health and receive a year of membership, free of charge. Click here to connect with your personal health advisor, and get personalized tips and support on your journey to better health.