Protecting the Mental Health of Individuals Living with Hydrocephalus

Knowing how to talk to individuals regarding their mental health is crucial in understanding how you can best help them. This concern is especially relevant when relating to people with disabilities like hydrocephalus.

This article provides information that can assist you in learning how to care for the mental health of people with hydrocephalus.

Mental Health Care for Individuals with Hydrocephalus

Childhood hydrocephalus is a typical chronic medical issue. However, information regarding the impact of headaches and psychological factors on children with hydrocephalus is scarce.

A study from the Journal of Neurosurgery showed that children with hydrocephalus experience an average burden of headaches, depression, anxiety, and fatigue compared to the general population.

Hydrocephalus is a chronic condition that necessitates continuing management and influences the emotional and mental well-being of those affected and their loved ones. Consequently, this medical issue can be overwhelming and emotionally draining.

It is acceptable to feel grief, melancholy, or anxiety due to the condition’s uncertainty and difficulties. Still, individuals with depression and chronic anxiety should receive treatment if these unpleasant emotions linger.

Below are some actions to help individuals with hydrocephalus build resilience and manage their situation. But other than these tips, it will not hurt to make a handwritten letter to make someone smile and remind them you remember them. Check out to have your letters delivered by local post offices.

Remember the Basics

         When helping people with disabilities build mental resilience, you may help them observe the following essential health habits.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemical messengers) that assists in regulating sleep, appetite, moods, and pain inhibition.

Moreover, your gastrointestinal tract produces about 95% of your serotonin and consists of millions of nerve cells or neurons. This fact suggests that the internal dynamics of your digestive system help you digest food and direct your emotions.

Furthermore, the billions of “good” bacteria in your intestinal microbiome significantly influence your neurons’ behavior and the production of serotonin.

Good bacteria impact what your gut digests and consumes. However, researchers are now starting to see the positive impact of bacteria on inflammatory response throughout your body and your mood and energy level.

You may start paying attention to how eating various food makes your loved ones feel. Try implementing a “clean” diet for a reasonable duration and cutting out all sugar and processed foods.

Observe how your loved ones feel after eating a different diet. Then, gradually reintroduce foods to see how they are.

  1. Exercise Regularly

         Individuals who exercise regularly do so primarily because it makes them feel good.

Exercise can help your loved ones improve their mood, ability to focus, and alertness. It can even enable them to have a more positive mindset.

The relationship between exercise and mental health is complex. Inactivity, for example, can be a cause or a result of mental illness.

         However, there are multiple ways in which exercise can benefit your loved ones’ mental health:

  • Exercise can help distract individuals from negative thoughts while providing opportunities to try new things.
  • When people exercise, the levels of chemicals in their brains, such as stress hormones, serotonin, and endorphins, change.
  • Exercise can help people improve their coping skills, gain control, and boost self-esteem. Moreover, individuals who exercise regularly frequently report how good it feels to achieve a goal.
  • Also, regular exercise can help individuals sleep better, which can help in mood management.

There are safe exercises that people with hydrocephalus can perform. The following list includes low-impact physical activities you can recommend to your loved ones:

  • Slow and gentle exercises, such as chair yoga, tai chi, and water exercises
  • Physical activities involving the use of elliptical machines or exercise bikes
  • Walking
  1. Sleeping Better

          There is a close relationship between mental health and sleep. Your psychological well-being and mental health may depend on your lack of sleep.

Additionally, people with mental health issues are more likely to experience insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Even though sleep deprivation is well-known across all demographics, people with psychiatric disorders are more likely to slouch or appear sleepy during the day.

In a typical psychiatric practice, 50% to 80% of patients experience chronic sleep problems, compared to 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population.

Patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience sleep issues more frequently than others.

Sleep deprivation can exact a toll on the health of your loved ones, especially since they may already be experiencing other difficulties, such as headaches, impaired vision, or seizures.

You may consider the following strategies to help your friends or family members get enough and better sleep:

  • Regulate liquid and food intake. Refrain from caffeine consumption several hours before bedtime to prevent restless nights.
  • Try calming exercises, such as meditation, yoga, or breathing techniques.
  • Maintain a technology-free sleeping environment. Remove bright screens, which may trigger brains to awaken.

What Is Hydrocephalus?

         Hydrocephalus is an abnormal fluid accumulation in the brain’s deep ventricles (cavities). The ventricles broaden due to the extra fluid exerting pressure on the brain’s tissues.

         Options for treatment exist that can bring cerebrospinal fluid levels back to normal. However, although therapy is frequently beneficial, treating hydrocephalus may necessitate several operations.

Many people with hydrocephalus live regular and productive lives after receiving treatment.


1. Anxiety, depression, fatigue, and headache burden in the pediatric hydrocephalus population

2. Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food

3. Exercise and mental health

4. Can People with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Exercise?

5. Sleep and mental health