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A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery

Your Emotional and Mental Well-Being After Surgery

Woman changing mood from smiling to laughing.

Emotional Well-Being

Surgery can sometimes make the patient sad or depressed after leaving the hospital. These emotions may come from anxiety about the future, or they may be the result of being tired or irritable because of the surgery and medication. You should know that these feelings are often temporary, and should go away with time, especially as you get back to your normal routine and activities.

If you continue to feel a strong sense of sadness or depression for more than two weeks, please talk to your doctor or mental health specialist. Studies have shown that depression can raise the risk of heart attack and coronary disease. There are options to help you feel better, including support groups, one-on-one counseling, and medication. Other treatments include alternative and complementary, self-help, and spiritual. Even a change in your diet may help.

Some tips to relieve depression:

  • Change into your day clothes, go outside and take a walk every day.
  • Share your thoughts with your trusted family and friends.
  • Resume your daily itinerary, hobbies and activities.
  • Try not to nap during the day so you can get a good night's sleep.

Mental Performance

Although you may not feel as sharp mentally immediately after surgery, your mental (cognitive) functions should return after you've recovered and rested. Over time, your memory, concentration, orientation, and verbal understanding should return to normal. It may take a few weeks before you can resume performing mentally stressful tasks, so be patient.

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There are options to help you feel better, including support groups, one-on-one counseling, and medication. Other treatments include alternative and complementary, self-help, and spiritual. Even a change in your diet may help.

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