Living with a chronic condition can be a huge source of emotional problems and stress. Much of it stems from the uncertainty we feel with our diagnosis and how our lives will play out with rheumatoid arthritis. What are these issues and how do we deal with them?
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common emotional problems that result from living with rheumatoid arthritis.
Financial worries, uncertainty, and pain management are three examples of stressors that can trigger or increase anxiety. There are ways of treating anxiety in a healthy and productive way. If you experience anxiety, consulting your doctor is an important first step. They can point you in the direction of a trained professional to help you cope with your anxiety.
Treatment for anxiety by a professional usually includes addressing the life circumstances causing the anxiety. Counseling, psychotherapy, and teaching stress management techniques are all helpful in treating anxiety and getting the help you need. In addition to emotional and mental therapies, there are also several prescription drugs which aid in the treatment of anxiety. These must be discussed with your doctor and therapist to make sure you get the one that is most suited to you.
Depression is a serious condition which can result from living with a chronic condition like rheumatoid arthritis. Because of its severity, it is important to keep a close eye on yourself or loved ones who may show signs of it. It is important to address these symptoms with your doctor and request an evaluation so depression can be diagnosed and treated in a healthy way.
In the medical community, it is generally understood that a combination of counseling or psychotherapy and prescription drugs is the best way to treat depression. Everyone is different, however, so your treatment regimen may be different than that of someone else. The most important thing is that you address Depression with a trained professional as soon as possible.
Stress has many manifestations, including physical, psychological, and emotional. It may even increase pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. With so many different ways stress can affect the body and mind, it is important to manage it on all of those levels.
Here is a list of some stress-reducing tactics you can use:
- Focus on taking deep breaths as this can have instant relaxation effects
- Get adequate sleep and stick to a schedule
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation
- Hydrate and eat right; lack of water or food can increase stress levels
- Exercise regularly; physical activity stimulates endorphin production and can remove any pent-u= energy
- Have a healthy separation between work and personal life
- Do things that you enjoy!
The emotional problems which can result from rheumatoid arthritis do not have to rule your life. You can take steps to be as healthy and happy as possible despite living with pain and uncertainty. There are many resources out there for you to receive help. A support group is another great way to get advice, tips, and just to not feel so alone with your chronic RA.