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Table 3 Qualitative themes of mental health conditions/symptoms

From: Patient outcomes after critical illness: a systematic review of qualitative studies following hospital discharge

Theme Example quote(s)
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms 1. “I often wake up terrified because I had dreams of being in the unit with all the sounds and noises of machines. Even when I’m awake and with people, many things remind me of the unit, people talking, and images from the TV.”
2. “It’s enough that someone says something on the radio, mentions the term intensive care or something, or when you watch teletext or TV and that word crops up, or there’s a nurse working with … at the ICU, ugh, then I feel exactly like I did then.”
Anxiety 1. “I was having these major panic attacks when I arrived in Cardiology and I’m still having them, even now that I’m home, it’s often in the evening, every evening I get really panicky.”
2. “Previously I was a harmonious, calm, positive and stable person, now things are different … I’m more insecure and nervous, which I wasn’t before.”
Depression “There are still days even, what are we six, seven months on now, yeah I just couldn't see the point of anything … in my mind I was thinking ‘Well what's the point of it, we're all going to die anyway?’ And I needed to speak to, I went back and spoke to the nurse consultant on ICU and she explained it’s perfectly normal. And that helped, once she said to me, ‘Loads of people feel like that when they come out of intensive care and you need to be kind and give yourself a bit of time, it will pass.’”
Irritability/anger 1. “I am now beginning to get frustrated with the things I still cannot do … I am finding it increasingly difficult mentally to cope with my recovery.”
2. “After a while, well, I’m not a nasty person, but I’m more on my guard now …; I’m more irritable, more nervous.”
General emotional functioning 1. “I cried for the slightest reason … it … only took the smallest setback.”
2. “You could never imagine the emotional side even if you were prepared … emotionally it was a rollercoaster.”