Some risky behaviors that can lead to infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV), such as injection drug abuse, may be prompted by preexisting mental disorders. Also, depression can be caused by some older drugs used to treat HCV, such as interferon, as well as the stigma and isolation that people living with hep C sometimes face.

A diagnosis of hepatitis C can also trigger feelings of anxiety, irritability and sadness. If you’re undergoing HCV treatment and find yourself overwhelmed by these emotions, seek medical help fast. Mental health issues, especially depression, can interfere with adherence to your hep C treatment and increase the chances that you’ll engage in unhealthy behaviors known to speed the progression of the illness.

But newer drugs are much less likely to cause negative side effects. Coupled with positive, mood-lifting lifestyle choices, such as exercising, joining a support group or a combination of these, HCV therapy can work miracles on an individual’s mental outlook.