Dealing with anger, sadness and depression after a prostate cancer diagnosis

If you’re feeling very down, your appetite has changed a lot, or you get angry more easily, these could be signs of depression. We know it's not all roses and sunshine, but you can and will get through this.

What does
depression feel like?

Everyone’s different, but you may experience these changes:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or empty
    You feel down or irritated most of the day, nearly every day.

  • Loss of interest or apathy
    lose interest in doing things you used to enjoy, like going to movies, cooking, and seeing friends or family.

  • Feeling irritable or hostile
    You engage in emotionally charged, aggressive behavior, and you don't always know why.

What else
might I notice?

  • Change in appetite or significant weight change
    Your weight and appetite are a lot less or a lot more than usual.

  • Sleep disturbances or fatigue
    You are sleeping too little or too much, or feel low on energy which isn’t fixed by rest or sleep.

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
    You drink more alcohol than before or start using drugs.

  • Risky or escapist behaviour
    You engage in reckless driving, compulsive gambling or spending a lot of time at work or on sports.

You may have thoughts of death or suicide. If you're having these thoughts, it’s important to speak to someone immediately.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Contact NAMI f
or peer-support and information. Call the helpline

(Monday through Friday, 10am – 6pm, ET) or


For immediate help in a crisis, speak to a crisis counselor by calling toll-free on

(24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or using the webchat link below.



or go directly to your nearest
emergency department.

How to
take action

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about life, take action because things can get better. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Talk to someone you trust, especially when things are tough.

  • Get moving -

    does great things to your body and mind.

  • Take a break – you don’t need to solve every challenge today, so give yourself some downtime.

  • All good things take time, start with small habits which help build momentum and more change.

  • Break ‘rules’ you might impose on yourself – for example, run the dishwasher again if you haven’t had the energy to unstack it straight away.

  • Get out and do something you enjoy with a friend.

  • If you’ve tried some of the things above and still feel bad, talk to a professional for advice and support.

Who can help?

Your doctor or care team

Talk to your nurse, doctor or someone else in your care team. They can help you understand your prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and side effects, listen to your concerns, and put you in touch with other people who can help.
They can also help you understand what services are covered by your insurance plan.

Trained counselors

Counselors are trained to listen and can help you to find your own ways to deal with things. Many hospitals have counselors or psychologists who specialise in helping people with cancer - ask your doctor or care team at the hospital if this is available. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a counselor, or you can seek out a private counselor yourself.

To find out more information and locate a therapist or counselor near you visit the

or .

Additional resources

Free nationwide peer-support service
Support services and choosing a cancer counselor
Online support groups for prostate cancer
Resources, support and advocacy for men with prostate cancer and their families
Free personalised one-on-one cancer support service
Survivor support and advocacy for men with cancer

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Dealing with anger, sadness and depression after a prostate cancer diagnosis, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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