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Coping with Depression and Hepatitis C
Living with a chronic disease such as hepatitis C can be challenging. A diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can invoke a wide range of reactions, and one common response is depression. This guide discusses various aspects of depression, providing the tools to gain insight and control over depression. Life is indeed too short to spend it feeling depressed – Especially since you can do something about it!
Understanding and Managing Fatigue
Fatigue is the most common symptom reported by people living with hepatitis C (HCV). One study found that 67% of HCV-positive people reported this symptom. Fatigue can range from mild to severe and can affect every area of life. Fatigue is difficult to quantify since it affects everyone differently and it cannot be measured by lab tests. Yet few symptoms disturb quality of life more than relentless fatigue. As Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
Healthy Living with HCV
A medical diagnosis may bring us to our knees for a moment. However, after the shock passes, it may be a turning point – an invitation to live in health rather than in disease. There is a proverb that says that those with a disease live better than those without a disease. Many of us who live with chronic hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) agree with this statement. We live with good health because of HCV.
Next Steps: When Treatment Isn’t Working
The standard treatment for HCV infection is antiviral therapy, currently a combination of two or three medications. The primary goal of antiviral therapy is to eliminate HCV from the body. Unfortunately, complete and permanent eradication of HCV is not guaranteed. Approximately 5 to 20% of patients who are treated with currently available medications will remain infected with HCV.