Cardiac Behavioral Medicine

Understanding the Link between Depression and Heart Disease

Psychiatric disorders, such as depression, are very common in cardiac patients and are independently linked to adverse cardiac outcomes.

The link between Cardiac events and mental health issues has been strongly supported for decades. In fact, over 40% of cardiac patients experience some behavioral health disturbance whether depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

  • Within the 1st couple weeks following a cardiac event, 15% of patients experience significant clinical depression and another 25% experience milder symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • In a landmark study, the continued presence of depression after recovery, increased the risk of mortality to 17% within 6 months after the heart attack (versus 3% without depression).
  • In the case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there is a 55% increase in risk of cardiac related mortality.
  • When treated for their PTSD, patients live approximately 3.5 times longer than those not treated.
  • Furthermore, literature goes beyond linking behavioral health with increased survival, it is also associated with decreased medical costs longitudinally.

We Can Help

Genesis Psychology Associates and the Genesis Heart Institute have developed a collaborative care program to successfully manage psychiatric conditions in patients with heart disease, with beneficial effects on function and other outcomes.

Those with heart disease or certain risk factors for developing it, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, or diabetes, your doctor may advise you to make lifestyle modifications. At Genesis, our collaborative team of care will work with you on a tailored plan to help you prevent heart disease or slow its progression.

Our licensed clinical psychologists and social worker work with you to make long-term lifestyle changes. We encourage small, sustainable and manageable steps so you can keep these improved healthy habits long term. Your provider and care team will check in with you and offer support throughout your entire journey.

We support you in developing healthy habits such as:

  • Getting more and better quality sleep
  • Practicing portion control
  • Improved diet plans that include eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Lowering your body mass index
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Quitting smoking or drug/alcohol use

We also help people with heart disease cope with the psychological issues that can accompany living with a chronic medical condition. Our psychologists help people:

  • Adjust psychologically and socially to having a cardiac condition or undergoing treatment
  • Manage emotional stress and reduce stress-related chest pain
  • Overcome PTSD or depression that stems from a heart attack or other acute event

How to Access Care

Talk with your cardiologist, surgeon, or cardiac rehab providers about a referral to the cardiac behavior program of care. Referrals will go to Genesis Psychology Associates at the Heart Institute. Once the referral is received, Genesis behavioral care team will schedule a visit.

The Commitment to the Investment in our Patients:

Genesis Psychology Associates and the Genesis Foundation gratefully acknowledge Quad City Bank & Trust envisioning and investing in behavioral health services for cardiology patients in the Genesis Heart Institute. These mission services include direct access to a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) who identifies and treats patients at a critical time in their recovery. To provide hope and healing to patients through this innovative program, text MindHeart to 41444 or call the Genesis Foundation at 563-421-6865.

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