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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. If you are a patient or care partner experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, or if you are having difficulty adjusting, there is hope. Treatment and relief can come in many forms and is different for each individual. Try one, or a combination, of the treatment 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, talk about it with your social worker and your doctor. They can provide an assessment, supportive counseling and refer you for additional support services in your community.
2. Seek counseling
Outpatient services are available at a variety of different agencies and can also be accessed by the local Department of Human Services/Community Mental Health. Inpatient services are typically available, but reserved for individuals who are deemed to be at risk for harming themselves or others. If you or someone you know is a risk to themselves or someone else, contact your social worker or local Community Mental Health agency immediately.
3. Find support groups
You are not alone in your struggles with kidney disease and dialysis. Whether you're a kidney disease 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. Talk to your doctor about medicines
Have a conversation with your doctor about medication that may help with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. Medication, such as an anti-depressant, can be most successful when used in combination with counseling or other support. Discuss your concerns with your doctor, as you may have other treatable medical conditions occurring that can play a role in feelings of sadness or worry.
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 difficulty coping, please contact your social worker to discuss the treatment options that are right for you.
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