Depression, Irritability & Anxiety

Anyone can suffer from depression, but with HCV it is more common than in the general population, and often develops or worsens during treatment.

If anything can cause depression, anxiety and irritability it is finding out that you have a life-threatening illness. As well the action of the hepatitis C virus itself on the body is known to trigger depression, and the flip side of depression is anxiety. Depression usually causes mood swings. Finally some of the medicines used to treat hepatitis C can cause depression (interferon in particular).

Depression is a very common symptom of chronic hepatitis C.

Key points:

  • Drugs used for depression can be very bad for the liver. Consult with your pharmacist, mental health professional, liver specialist, and/or family physician to make sure you are not damaging your liver unnecessarily.
  • Depression can cause stress, which can damage your liver, and liver damage can even make your depression worse, resulting in a vicious cycle!
  • HCV treatment is known to make depression worse, or cause it in people who never experienced it before. If this happens, get help immediately.
  • If you or a friend or family member is experiencing severe depression,  never hesitate to ask for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and people are there whose job it is to help you.


Below is a very useful guide to coping with HCV and depression by Lucinda K. Porter, RN and the HCV Advocate.

Click to Download the PDF