(Q&A) Psychologist Dr. Samuel Sears: Mental Health Challenges of Cardiac Arrest Survivors

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I am honestly very excited to have you here to check out this Q&A episode with Dr. Samuel F. Sears, who is a Professor of the Departments of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences at East Carolina University. 

Dr. Sears is considered by many as the world authority on the psychological care and quality of life outcomes of patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). He has published over 200 articles in medicine and psychology research literature and has well over 10,000 citations. 

In 2021, Expertscape.com named Dr. Sears one of the top 50 experts / prolific authors in the world on implantable defibrillators over the last 10 years from amongst the 27,847 authors of the topic.

In this Q&A episode, I ask the questions that many of you sent me for Dr. Sears. We discuss a range of different topics: from dealing with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, to handling the fear of being shocked, making the outside world understand the difficult road we are on, and all the exciting advancements coming soon to ICD. And so many other vastly interesting topics Dr. Sears delves into in-depth. 

I am quite confident that you will find more than just a few fascinating and helpful takeaways to improve the quality of your life in this episode with clinical health psychologist Dr. Samuel Sears.

Oh, and if you’d like to send in your question for the next cardiac health expert, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter by clicking ‘here’, as that’s where I’ll send out the announcement when another cardiac health expert is booked to appear on the show.

Timestamps of this episode:

  • Intro 00:0002:54
  • Support The Heart Warrior Project 02:5504:20
  • Who is Dr. Samuel Sears? 04:2108:23
  • What got Dr. Sears into health psychology 08:2411:51
  • Recognising and distinguishing anxiety, PTSD and depression 11:5122:54
  • Taking care of mind and body after a cardiac arrest: the importance of cognitive behavioral therapy, a support network and exercise 22:5528:33
  • Regaining confidence 28:3431:07
  • Coping with anxiety or panic attacks 31:0838:10
  • Managing memory loss 38:1141:15
  • You’re so lucky you survived’: Dealing with emotional invalidation as a survivor 41:1650:18
  • Celebrating small victories 50:1952:28 The special wisdom of heart patients 52:2957:22
  • Support The Heart Warrior Project 57:2359:05
  • Sharing your experience with loved ones: allowing for negative emotions to heal 59:061:09:50
  • Unnecessary shocks: creating faith in your ICD and a sense of safety 1:09:511:21:51
  • Building better communication with health care providers 1:21:521:30:47
  • The future of cardiac rehab 1:30:481:35:00
  • What survivors should know about the future of ICDs and cardiac health awareness 1:35:011:40:19
  • Outro 1:40:201:43:42

Note that The Heart Warrior Project is run by one guy, which is, yes, me.

Like most people, I have bills to pay.

If you have found or come to find anything helpful or insightful here on the website, please consider supporting The Heart Warrior Project.

If you are a survivor, I would recommend buying either a Heart Warrior t-shirt or a Heart Warrior mug—or both!

I, together with an illustrator, created the design for them (and we’re working on more cool designs to come). 

Both the t-shirt and the mug are made from durable and quality materials, and don’t they look just great?! Of course, these are just suggestions, but I do not think you will regret having them.

I personally love wearing the t-shirt myself. And I drink my coffee every day out of my Heart Warrior mug

If the t-shirt or mug doesn’t speak to you, there are a few other ways to support The Heart Warrior Project:

  • BUY ME A COFFEE: If you think I deserve a coffee for the work I put into this project, you can support me with a virtual coffee on Ko-fi. What will I do with the proceeds? Well, due to my heart disease, I won’t be enjoying a cup myself. Instead, I’ll channel the funds into further project development. Anything, even as little as €2, can help me to keep this project alive.
  • AFFILIATE LINKS: If there are any links to a product mentioned in an article or podcast episode and you are interested in buying it, consider doing so through the provided link. Likely, it will be an affiliate link. What is an affiliate link, you ask? Basically, it is a link where I could earn a small commission if someone buys the product through that link. Buying through this link will not cost you anything extra.
  • SPREAD THE WORD: If you like what I am doing here, you could always simply spread the word about this project to anyone you think might benefit. It would help a lot.

Choosing any of these ways to support this project will truly help me a lot in putting out more content and building The Heart Warrior Project further.

Many thanks, 


Dr. Samuel F. Sears

board-certified clinical health psychologist

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    Spring/summer is finally here! And with that our brand new designs for our Heart Warrior t-shirts, made in collaboration with the amazing artist Eve Mptashi—I am very proud of how these turned out.

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