The Emotional Roller Coaster of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Having a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis can be hard on the body. Daily pain can often limit the enjoyable activities as well as daily functioning level. Medications and physicians can help for managing the physical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but what about the emotional consequences of the disease? It's not easy suffering from a chronic condition riddled with seemingly uncontrollable pain and body changes.
It can be frustrating when there is nobody to blame
When terrible things happen, it's easy to find something to blame. But in rheumatoid arthritis, the disease strikes without anything to take out frustration on.
The condition involves your own body attacking itself - so who can you even get angry at? It's emotionally draining to be constantly beaten down by your own body with no way to release the pent-up frustration.
Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis is a life-changing event
When someone is diagnosed with a condition like rheumatoid arthritis, it is a life-changing event. Your life will never be the same no matter if your doctor is the best in his field or if you are paying for the most expensive, cutting-edge drugs available to you. The fact of the matter is - your life will change forever. Rheumatoid arthritis does not discriminate. Whether you are rich or poor, a woman or a man, young or old - the disease is not an easy one to endure. The pain and deformity that can happen from the chronic inflammation can make tasks as simple as brushing your teeth or writing a letter painful.
Taking care of your mental health is equally important
So after you take care of your body and get on all the right medicines, what's the next step? How can we treat both the body and spirit when it comes to a chronic, autoimmune condition like this? Despite being on the best medications, there will always be caveats to these drugs. Many of these medications have serious side effects, and they don't indefinitely prevent you from having flares.
Chronic pain affects the patient as well as everyone within their immediate circle
When you live in chronic pain due to an incurable disease, your life as well as the lives of those who love you will be forever affected. Your relationships with friends and family will change, your ability to work may be impacted, and your independence may also be robbed from you. These social impacts of having rheumatoid arthritis can really take an emotional toll on a person. So it's important that we recognize this and take care of mental health too.
Studies have shown that social and emotional life is impacted by rheumatoid arthritis
In 2016, a study completed in Poland actually looked at the social impacts of having diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. They found that the disease can really decrease a person's functional level within their own community, and results in significant mood issues and lower quality of life. The findings were more apparent especially for people who have had the symptomatic disease for a longer period of time.
The study also found that younger patients often spoke up more about the severe social impacts of having rheumatoid arthritis. Many of these young people reported a negative effect on their social life and their ability to enjoy the outdoors.
Read on to learn more about the emotional and mental impact of rheumatoid arthritis.