Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Having a heart attack is scary. How will this affect your life? Will you be able to return to work or resume activities you enjoy? Will it happen again?

Here are some suggestions to help you cope:

  • Deal with your emotions. Fear, anger, guilt and depression are all common after a heart attack. Discussing them with your doctor, a family member or a friend may help. Or consider talking to a mental health provider or joining a support group.

    It's important to mention signs or symptoms of depression to your doctor. Cardiac rehabilitation programs can be effective in preventing or treating depression after a heart attack.

  • Attend cardiac rehabilitation. Many hospitals offer programs that may start while you're in the hospital and, depending on the severity of your attack, continue for weeks to months after you return home. Cardiac rehabilitation programs generally focus on four main areas — medications, lifestyle changes, emotional issues and a gradual return to your normal activities.

Sex after a heart attack

Some people worry about having sex after a heart attack, but most people can safely return to sexual activity after recovering from a heart attack. When you can resume sexual activity will depend on your physical comfort, psychological readiness and previous sexual activity. Ask your doctor when it's safe to resume sexual activity.

Some heart medications may affect sexual function. If you're having problems with sexual dysfunction, talk to your doctor.

Nov. 15, 2014

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