A Chronic Kidney Disease patient conducting Dialysis said, "We had a death on Saturday. I am a patient and witnessed it. I am still trying to cope. I get anxiety at Dialysis really bad now."
The fact is that Dialysis is a life-changing event that can create an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety for patients. Facing end stage renal disease (ESRD) can be scary enough, but many patients may also cope with financial and insurance issues, juggling Dialysis schedules and work, unsupportive family members, the concern of physical pain from Dialysis and fear of death. If anxiety is left unattended to, it can become toxic to your health and lead to additional complications - even causing some patients to give up. If you are suffering from severe stress and anxiety, try the following tips for relief:
Most people do not realize that Dialysis is not just physically challenging (pain, slow recovery time, tiredness after treatment, cramping, etc.), it is also emotionally burdensome. Many patients often must contend with thoughts of, "What if something goes wrong during my Dialysis Treatment? Or if I cannot see my kids/grandkids grow up?" Well, we at KidneyBuzz.com understand completely. Try these three methods to help manage your anxiety:
1. Confront Your Concern: Spend 15 minutes a day acknowledging your worries in a tangible way. Creating a list of your top 10 worries or a calendar of stressful upcoming events allows you to strategize and deal with each problem directly, so they don't balloon to an unmanageable size.
2. Inhale Deeper: Deep belly breathing, whether in a yoga class, at the office, or on your couch, is helpful in interrupting irrational thoughts. If you frequently experience toxic worry, try carrying a balloon in your pocket. Blowing up balloon forces you to take long, slow breaths from the diaphragm, which slows down your heart rate, lowers blood pressure and helps your body use oxygen more efficiently, having a calming effect.
3. It's All Mental: According to Dr. Oz, "By realizing that worry is a neurological process, rather than simply a 'feeling,' we can take steps to relieve it." Basically, deep inside the brain is an almond-shaped structure called the Amygdala, which acts as our fear and anxiety center. When we experience a potential worry, this Amygdala sends warning messages to the Cortex, which is the rational part of our brain. As the rational cortex is flooded with more and more warning signals from the Amygdala, it is unable to process them all, leading to worry loops or anxiety. Hence, Don't just leave your anger, frustration, and concerns swirling around in your head causing you higher levels of anxiety. By putting anxiety is this context, you can help relieve some of your stressful thoughts by writing them down and/or discussing them with another person you trust.
Since this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a professional, if you think you are experiencing anxiety, discuss this with your Healthcare Team.
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