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Resource type: Article

Feeling low or sad

Is it common to feel low or depressed after Intensive Care?

It's very common and completely understandable to feel low or depressed after being in Intensive Care. Research suggests that up to a third of Intensive Care patients suffer from depression at some point.

Why do I feel so low? 

If you've suffered from depression in the past, it's more likely that you may do so again, but this is not always the case.There are a great many reasons why you might feel low.Being very ill can be a tremendous strain, both physically and psychologically and this is likely, at least in the short term, to have a real impact on your sleep, energy levels, physical ability and relationships.

You may still be coming to terms with how ill you were and may be feeling isolated, like no one understands what you've been through. You may be feeling down about how long it takes to recover or worrying that you're never going to get back to normal. All of this is completely understandable, but can be hard to come to terms with, leading to feelings of low mood and depression.

Symptoms of low mood or depression

The symptoms of low mood or depression can be physical as well as psychological or emotional.Typical symptoms include lack of interest or loss of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, disturbed sleep, poor concentration, poor memory, difficulty making decisions and feelings of worthlessness. Physical symptoms include tiredness and lack of energy.

What can I do?

There are a great many things you can do to help yourself. Probably the most important thing to do is to talk to family and friends about how you're feeling. It might help to hear about other people's experiences, and to know that you're not alone. You can do this by using the information on this and other websites, by joining our chat room, or by going to a patient support meeting (currently run in Dundee).

We've included a number of free self-help guides on this website, which we hope you find useful.If your symptoms are very severe, or don't seem to be getting any better, talk to your GP.