The emotional effects of kidney patient failure

Stress

One of the main causes of stress is change. All human beings find change stressful - even change that we are looking forward to, like moving house, raises our stress levels.

As a person with renal failure you will have to deal with more change than most people do. Not just the initial change of lifestyle that comes with the diagnosis, but ongoing change as you deal with alterations to your diet, medication and forms of treatment.

All these changes will mean you have to take in a great deal of new information, make decisions, learn new practical skills. You also have to adjust to new ways of doing things, to doing less than you would like to, and to asking for help... This is all extremely stressful - and it comes in addition to coping with the physical effects of kidney failure.

Different people react differently to stress - some get anxious or feel overwhelmed, others may get irritable or hostile, others may deny there is a problem and keep pushing themselves to "cope."

The best way of coping with stress is to recognise that it can be a problem in its own right and that if you are suffering from it, it is with good reason. Accept that you need to actively take time to "de-stress". There are many ways of doing so and they can all contribute to helping you cope with kidney failure.

There are a number of ways of dealing with stress:
  • Talking to someone who understands

  • Doing an activity that you enjoy

  • Relaxing, perhaps by listening to music

  • Doing some physical activity (within safe limits)

  • Take a short break or a holiday

If you would like some more information about dealing with stress, do talk to your Unit's counsellor.

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