How To Deal With Anxiety Due To Chronic Illness

June 11, 2017


Being diagnosed with a chronic illness like kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, etc., can be very disorienting and frightening.

In addition to successful treatment of the underlying condition, people also need to deal with the side effects of medications, the adverse symptoms of the illness, drastic lifestyle changes, and problems in getting efficient health care, etc.

All of these can adversely affect relationships, job, and other aspects of the patient’s life. The resultant anger and frustration may eventually trigger anxiety and depression.

Listed below are different ways of dealing with anxiety due to chronic illness:

  • Learning and understanding the different symptoms and treatments about the underlying chronic illness will be helpful in dealing with anxiety and other associated problems. You can question the doctor for all necessary information about the condition and conduct your own research online or in a library for in-depth knowledge about the ailment.
  • Observe your body and be on the lookout for any new health problems. If any specific medication or treatment processes work better in alleviation of symptoms than other options/drugs, then note it down and consult with doctor.
  • Chronic illnesses can be a source of continued intense stress. Dealing with anxiety can also aggravate stress and cause other problems. Hence, become a self-manager and actively participate in the treatment plan. Take the meds religiously, without fail, as per dosage prescribed by the doctor. Never miss any appointments with the doctor, don’t be afraid of asking questions, and continue exploring different alternative treatment options.
  • Anxiety due to chronic illness can limit the time and energy required for friends, family, and other activities. This can disrupt relationships; hence make smart choices and take steps to manage relationships. Increased focus of energy and time to proper areas can help manage social life and efficiently deal with anxiety, stress, and other problems. Avoid relationships that increase the stress.
  • Chronic conditions may trigger a variety of emotions such as grief, fear, rage, denial, mental pain, etc. which can lead to mental problems like anxiety, stress, depression, etc. Take steps to manage the emotions and dealing with associated anxiety, etc. You may read a book, cook, do yoga, meditate, try breathing techniques like deep breathing, write a journal, etc.
  • Exercise regularly and eat a healthy and balanced diet. A good diet will improve the overall physical and mental health and thus be effective in dealing with anxiety as well as quicken recovery from underlying chronic illness.
  • The correct approach and attitude will help improve the quality of life as well as instill the confidence to be able to live happily under the constraints imposed by the illness. Learn new skills that can help manage different challenges that may occur with the passage of time. Also, accept the fact that you have a chronic illness. This will help us move on to the next phase and assist in living the best possible life.
  • Join a good support network on Facebook. Even if you have supportive family and friends, they may not be able to truly understand your pain. A support group will consist of other members suffering from similar chronic conditions. Sharing your experiences with them can raise your hope and self-esteem and help deal with anxiety.

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