Dealing with kidney disease can be stressful and affect people’s daily lives. So it makes sense that kidney patients may be more likely to experience depression than the general population. Now is an excellent time to learn some mental health tips to help you manage your illness.
Kidney Disease and Depression
According to the American Kidney Fund, people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD or kidney failure) face higher rates of depression. It’s taxing on mental health to deal with a chronic illness and all the pressure it puts on a patient’s life.
Kidney patients may experience the following symptoms of depression:
- Regular pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feelings of lack of control over their daily routine and lives
- Feeling like they’re powerless over the disease
- Feeling hopeless because there is no “cure” for kidney disease
- Unwanted feelings of dependence on healthcare providers and/or dialysis equipment
- Feeling excluded from social experiences due to their illness or its limitations (like having to keep dialysis appointments or follow a specific diet)
Mental Health Tips for People with Kidney Disease
These mental health tips can help you maintain better mental health when managing your kidney disease:
1. Advocate for Yourself
One of the reasons people with chronic illness are prone to mental health issues like depression is because they feel like they don’t have control over their illness and how it affects their life. So the first of our mental health tips is to be proactive in your treatment plan and advocate for yourself.
2. Work Closely with Your Doctors
Part of being an advocate for yourself is being an active part of your healthcare team. Share your concerns about treatment with your doctors and other care providers. Tell them how you feel about your health and how your condition affects your life.
3. Take Advantage of Available Resources
A tremendous mental health tip is to ensure you tap into all the available resources. Social workers and mental health professionals are well-versed in assisting kidney patients. You may also find helpful information in self-help books or support groups.
4. Ask for Support from Loved Ones
Trying to manage a chronic illness and handle everyday stresses can seem almost impossible when dealing with everything alone. That’s why an excellent mental health tip is to reach out for help from your loved ones when you need them.
5. Follow Your Treatment Plan
Once you have spoken to your doctor and care team about the treatment plan that is right for you, follow it closely. Doing so will help you feel better physically over time. And physical wellness will naturally feed into mental wellness, including mental health tips.
6. Get Plenty of Rest
Staying rested isn’t only crucial for your physical health, and it is one of the most essential mental health tips. Being tired and fatigued takes a significant toll on mental health. So ensure your daily schedule allows for rest and that you get enough sleep at night. Many kidney patients sometimes find sleeping difficult, so talk to your doctor about ways to get more sleep.
7. Eat Well
Following a kidney-friendly diet may seem complicated, but it will help you feel better in several ways. It should improve your physical wellness, which, as we mentioned before, will help with mental health. Also, getting the nutrients you need can help ward off the symptoms of depression.
8. Stay Active
Following a doctor-approved fitness routine can do wonders for your mental health. People who get regular exercise often find that activity relieves the symptoms of depression or helps prevent them in the first place. Just make sure you consult your nephrologist or another healthcare provider to ensure you get the appropriate amount of exercise and do it correctly.
9. Focus on What Makes You Happy
One of the best mental health tips is to focus on things that make you happy. Find hobbies that bring you joy and work them into your routine as much as possible. Read books and watch movies that make you feel good. Spend quality time with loved ones. All these things can help you cope with chronic illness and lift your mood.
10. Speak Up
Don’t let yourself handle these mental health tips alone. If you’re feeling the symptoms of depression while dealing with CKD or ESRD, don’t keep it to yourself. You must speak up to your doctor, another professional, or even a loved one so they can help you get the support you need.
Make an Appointment
At Durham Nephrology, our team is experienced in providing treatment and guidance to kidney patients. These mental health tips are just the start of our ability to help you. When you visit our offices, you can be confident that we are taking the necessary precautions to protect the health of our patients and staff. If you have questions about caring for yourself while dealing with kidney disease, call us at 919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment.