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The High Incidence of Post Intensive care Unit Anxiety and depression
Martina M. Cartwright Ph.D., R.D.
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Many patients who are discharged from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) frequently suffer health problems long after they've left the hospital. The patient and their loved ones are often puzzled as to why, having survived a critical illness, that the former ICU patient is unable to work, enjoy activities, gain weight, and/or regain happiness after leaving the hospital. In researching this topic, I was alarmed at the number of individuals who are plagued by a profound range of serious mental health issues coupled with prolonged physical weakness.
The purpose of this piece is to bring attention to the widespread incidence of post-ICU depression and mental health and to encourage education and networking of professionals interested in assisting post-ICU patients and their caregivers. Hopefully, information contained in the article will provide caregivers and loved ones of former ICU patients with practical suggestions on how to initiate a successful dialog with a variety of health care professionals and mental health providers to ensure that the post-ICU care received results in the best possible outcome.
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