Chronic Kidney Disease and Your Emotional Health

When first diagnosed with CKD, many patients become overwhelmed and filled with fear. Perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself. If so, it’s important for you to realize that controlling these feelings and nurturing your emotional health is every bit as important as all of the other medical treatments you pursue as you manage your illness.

This is especially true of chronic health issues, like CKD, that can progress even faster if you disregard your diet, fluid intake, and overall care. In fact, staying emotionally healthy can also help give you the strength and stamina you may need to tackle certain treatments, like a transplant or dialysis.

One of the first steps to nurturing your emotional well-being and being able to cope with CKD is to become a well-informed patient.

Becoming informed will enable you to:

  • Understand the range of symptoms you may experience
  • Learn the common symptoms and how they relate to the various stages of CKD
  • Have realistic expectations of treatment outcomes
  • And make empowered, proactive choices regarding your care!

When you are informed, you are also better able minimize feelings of anger, fear, and denial – all of the emotions that can chip away at your resolve. The danger of improperly managing these types of emotions is that they can lead patients to make self-destructive choices that often accelerate the progression of CKD.

For example, patients in denial may choose to skip dialysis treatments or to retreat and cut themselves off from friends, family, and health care team members. But CKD is a serious illness. Skipping dialysis or ignoring advice from your health care team will only make you feel sicker.

In some instances, the consequences of skipped dialysis cannot be reversed and it can land a patient in the hospital.

If you are worried that what you are experiencing is more than anger, fear, or sadness and may instead be the signs of depression, reach out to your health care team. They are knowledgeable, well-trained, caring professionals who can get you the help that you need.