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4 Ways to Help Manage Mental Health and Kidney Disease

It's common for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and their care partners to experience mental health conditions as a result of the life changes that can occur. Treatment and relief can come in many forms and is different for each individual. Try one, or a combination, of the options below to help manage your mental health.

1. Talk about how you're feeling.

If you are feeling down, anxious or having difficulty coping with every day things, talk about it with your social worker and your doctor. They can provide an assessment, counseling and refer you to additional support services in your community.

2. Stay on top of your physical health.

Caring for your physical health—such as receiving dialysis as prescribed, following your personalized kidney diet, taking medications as prescribed, exercising and getting enough sleep—may help you feel better. Even something as simple as walking on a consistent basis can make a big difference in how you feel. Avoiding or limiting substances such as nicotine, alcohol and caffeine can prevent disruption of a good night’s sleep, too.

3. Find support groups

You are not alone in your journey with kidney disease and dialysis. Whether you're a patient or a care partner, joining a support group is a great way to help manage your mental health. Find groups in your area by searching through the National Kidney Foundation® (NKF), Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) or asking a social worker. If you want to seek out online support from people in a similar situation, consider visiting the DaVita Forums.

4.  Do something you enjoy.

Have fun! Doing something you enjoy can help pick you up when you feel down. Get back into the hobbies you’ve missed, read a book, watch a comedy, phone a friend or try something new.

Get help when you have kidney disease

Remember, your mental health affects your physical health. Help is available to both people with kidney disease and their care partners. If you feel you are experiencing depression, anxiety or having difficulty coping in general, please contact your social worker to discuss the treatment options that are right for you.

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