You’ve gone through a successful surgery but yet you’re feeling depressed. Is this normal? After surgery, it is common to experience a range of emotions, including feelings of sadness, worthlessness, anxiety, and being overwhelmed. These feelings are normal and should not be cause for alarm. However, if you or someone you know experiences more than fleeting feelings of depression after surgery, it is important to seek professional medical advice.

Depression After Surgery

This article is for information purposes only and should not be used as an alternative to or constitute medical advice and seeing your doctor.

Key Takeaways

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression after surgery, it’s important to seek help and support. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Feeling depressed after surgery is a common issue that can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender.
  • Symptoms of depression after surgery may include feelings of sadness, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities.
  • It’s important to talk to your healthcare professional if you are experiencing symptoms of depression after surgery, as they may be able to provide treatment or refer you to a mental health professional.
  • Treatment options for depression after surgery may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
  • It’s important to take care of yourself while recovering from surgery, including getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and staying active.
  • Support from friends and family can also be helpful in managing depression after surgery. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support when you need it.

Remember, depression after surgery is a treatable condition. With the right support and treatment, you can start feeling better and get back to enjoying your life.

Video: Depression After Surgery

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Reasons that Contribute to Depression After Surgery

Depression After Surgery - Why

The risk of depression after surgery can be attributed to a number of factors, including the emotional stress of the surgery itself, the side effects of anesthesia, and the physical limitations that come with postoperative recovery. The effects of anesthesia can also contribute to anxiety and depression. Additionally, reactions to antibiotics and other medications can lead to anxiety and depression.

In addition, patients who have a history of depression or anxiety may be more susceptible to developing depression after surgery.

Overall, while depression after surgery is a common occurrence, it is important for patients to take steps to manage their mental health and seek support if needed. By being aware of the potential risk and taking proactive steps, patients can improve their overall recovery and well-being.


Depression After Surgery - Anxiety

Another issue you might wrestle with following surgery is anxiety. Anxiety is a close relative, if you will, of depression. Anxiety is more than just feeling nervous or worried. It can cause physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweating, trembling, nausea, and shortness of breath.

Anxiety can arise from a variety of sources, including concerns about the surgery itself, worries about complications, fear of the unknown, and what seems like never-ending questions swirling around in your head.

Who’s going to pay my bills? When will I get back to work (to be able to pay the bills)? Will my health insurance pay for the surgery? What happens if something happens to me when no one is here to help? And if you let your mind continue down the path of anxiety, you can come up with so many “what if” scenarios. Again, be assured that many people have these types of anxious feelings following surgery.

These are common concerns after surgery, and they can vary in intensity and duration. However, sometimes these emotions and thoughts can become overwhelming and persistent. They can interfere with your daily functioning and well-being.

If you think you may have depression or anxiety after surgery, do not ignore it or suffer in silence. Talk to your doctor or a mental health specialist as soon as possible. They can assess your situation and offer you an effective treatment plan and support. You deserve to heal both physically and mentally after surgery.

Some Surgeries Have A Higher Risk of Depression

Certain types of surgery have a higher rate of depression afterward. As discussed in a study, “Depression and Postoperative Complications: An Overview” certain types of surgery see a higher rate of depression afterward. Knowing what these surgeries are and you’re having one, you can be better prepared and informed.  Three of these surgeries include:

  • Heart Surgery
  • Spinal surgery
  • Bariatric surgery

In another study, it was found that women undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer experience depression more frequently than healthy people but that depression lifted in the post-op period.

Signs of Depression 

Depression After Surgery - Woman Depressed

Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause a range of symptoms that can impact your daily life. Here are some common signs of depression:

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities or hobbies
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Increase or Loss of Appetite
  • Changes in appetite (eating more or less than usual)
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or hurting oneself or others

It’s important to note that not everyone with depression will experience all of these symptoms. Some people may only have a few, while others may have many. Be assured, in most cases, as you move along in your recovery process, these very signs and feelings should begin to shift.

How is that? As you pain lessons, as you’re able to sleep better, as you can do more for yourself, as you get back to your normal activities, your feelings of postoperative depression and that cloud of darkness should start to lift.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of depression it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Depression is a treatable condition, and with the right support, you can start feeling better.

Video: What Is Depression

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Ways to Help Yourself

So, you’ve identified that you have depression symptoms after surgery, or perhaps you are being flooded with anxiety – what can you do to begin to feel better?


Be sure you are eating a well-balanced healthy diet.

Try to eliminate sugar, or at least limit the amount of sugar. Sugar, in itself, can set you on a roller coaster of feeling up and then crashing.

Limit processed foods. What are some examples of these – hot dogs, frozen dinners, and bacon. These are just a few examples of processed foods – there are many more.

Don’t limit protein because protein helps restore muscle and muscle growth.

Drinking enough water – a good measure of water intake is aiming for 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water.

Example – If you weigh 200 lbs. aim for 100 oz of water a day.

Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, and your body may not function as it sure, from your kidneys to your brain, so get that water in.


Getting enough sleep can be tough when you’re still recovering and have postoperative pain.

Medications can interfere with sleep. So be sure to take naps during the day if your sleep is interrupted throughout the night. Remember when we used to hate naps as children – nope, not anymore, lol.

This is the time for you to relax so, don’t do too much and get as much sleep as you are able – this may be the only time you can give yourself permission to do so without others complaining about all you do is sleep.

Seriously though, don’t underestimate the value of rest.



I know, I know – you may loathe exercise. But there are so many types of exercise that you can participate in – I’m not talking about running a marathon at this time.

Exercise has been proven to aid in the production of endorphins, which in turn, lift your mood.

What type of exercise – well, first and foremost, you want to ask your doctor. Find out when it is okay to begin exercising.

Short walks are an excellent way to start.

As you progress through your recovery, you can also increase the amount of exercise and incorporate other types of exercise into your program – yoga, walking with the goals of further or longer time increments, biking (even stationary bikes if needed), and at some time in your recovery, you may be able to resume weight workouts – but again confer with your doctor and get his release for any exercise.


Medical Reasons for Hair Loss - Medication

It is common to be prescribed medication after surgery to help alleviate pain. It is important to take the prescribed amount and communicate any concerns with your doctor. Abruptly stopping medication can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms, so it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions.


How common is depression after surgery?

Postoperative depression is a common condition that affects many people after surgery. The occurrence of depression after surgery varies depending on the type of surgery, but studies have shown that up to 20% of patients may experience depression after surgery.

What are the risk factors for developing postoperative depression?

There are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing postoperative depression. These may include a history of depression or other mental health conditions, a family history of depression, a lack of social support, and a history of substance abuse.

What is the outlook for people with postoperative depression?

The outlook for people with postoperative depression is generally positive with appropriate treatment. Many people are able to recover from postoperative depression and return to their normal activities. However, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening.

Additional Reading


Is it normal to feel depressed after surgery? Depression after surgery is not uncommon. So many things are going on with your body after undergoing surgery that it’s surprising that more people don’t experience depression.

It’s true: feelings are nothing more than feelings, but those very feelings can be intense.

Always, always talk with someone if you continue to feel depressed or have thoughts of harming yourself.

As you progress through your recovery, those feelings of depression and anxiety should start to lift, especially if you take steps to conquer them.

I hope in reading Depression After Surgery-Or Am I Going Crazy? You’ve found some normalcy in your feelings.

Have you experienced depression after surgery? Comment below with your story or if you have any questions.

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  1. Interesting topic. I haven’t experienced depression after surgery but for the future I will remember what to do. thank you

    1. West,

      Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Depression is often misunderstood and a person may not even realize they are depressed. Hopefully, you will never experience it but if you do know there is help for it.

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