Herpes and Depression


Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that may cause painful sores on or around the genital area or mouth, which may be accompanied by fever and flu-like symptoms. In many cases, the disease is often dormant and the person experiences no symptoms at all. However, genital herpes is highly contagious even in the dormant state, and it is incurable. People with the disease should take careful measures to avoid infecting their sexual partners, and often, abstinence from sex is the best solution.

Public perception of genital herpes is unduly harsh and condemnatory, resulting in a stigma that shouldn’t be there. In truth, genital herpes is usually no worse than a cold sore, but most people don’t see it this way. Negative perceptions of herpes abound, making the disease more of a social problem than a medical one. Infected persons are vulnerable to poor self-image issues, and the emotional distress they experience from these and from relationship difficulties can be far worse than the actual physical pain caused by the disease. It is therefore not uncommon for herpes and depression to go together.

Often times, when a person is initially diagnosed, they can immediately feel a sense of isolation, where depression follows. Especially those who are completely without any knowledge of the disease, feel like they have no one to turn to to ask questions. Although the overwhelming statistics show that people are not alone, having herpes isn’t exactly something that many people share, even those that are closest to them.

When a person infected with herpes shows signs of depression, he should seek professional help to treat the depression, and take self-help measures to manage the herpes and avoid infecting other people. It is often easier to manage genital herpes than to cure depression. The sores of herpes usually heal spontaneously after a few days, and the accompanying fever and muscle pain can be easily relieved with paracetamol or ibuprofen. But long after the sores and fever are gone, the poor self-image and depressive mood can remain, causing continued pain and suffering, and impairing the person’s ability to live normally. Depressed people are often sad and anxious, cry frequently, have difficulty functioning or concentrating, and lose interest in things that they used to enjoy. They also do not get enough sleep, feel tired all the time, are moody or angry, neglect to do daily activities, and do not care to look after themselves or their families. This highly negative, woeful and self-destructive attitude can actually trigger an outbreak of herpes. It is a well-established fact that the dormant infection can be activated by stress or emotional distress, resulting in a severe recurrence of sores and other physical symptoms. This in turn may make the person even more sad and depressed. Thus, herpes and depression can be a vicious cycle that must be broken so that the person can get back to living normally again.

?To break the cycle, it is imperative that the person sees a doctor and receives psychiatric counselling. On his own, it is very difficult for the person to determine if his sad feelings constitute a real case of depression or merely a case of “the blues.” Only a trained medical professional can provide the necessary diagnosis and treatment for herpes and depression.

?It must be remembered that with depression, there is always the risk of self-harm and suicide. A depressed person often has an exaggerated sense of worthlessness or guilt, and in someone with herpes, shame and embarrassment over this “dreadful” or “sinful” disease can significantly aggravate those negative feelings. All this can stir a suicidal tendency in the person, underlying the urgent need for treatment of herpes and depression.

Related posts:

  1. Herpes and Depression
  2. After Diagnosis, What to Expect from a Life with Herpes?
  3. How to Deal with Your First Initial Herpes Outbreak
  4. Having “The Talk” About Genital Herpes
  5. Herpes Symptoms – Bone Pain before Herpes Outbreak


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