Dialysis and Depression
Undergoing dialysis can create a heavy toll on many patients’ mental health. They can often feel social isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. This month, we honor National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 7 by advising our patients to take an online depression screening.
How to Detect Early Signs of Depression
Early detection of depression is possible with the help of medical professionals. Signs of depression can include:
- Persistent feeling of sadness or anxiousness
- Restlessness and irritability
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless
- Thoughts of suicide or death
Understanding the symptoms of depression is the first step. People exhibiting any symptoms should seek help from their doctor or health team.
Effects of Depression on Dialysis
Depression can have a tremendous impact on a patient’s quality of life, mentally and physically. According to the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, people undergoing dialysis who are diagnosed with depression are more likely to become hospitalized and tend to spend more days in the hospital. Some research shows depression might encourage changes in the immune system and trigger dietary issues. Due to this, it is crucial dialysis patients seek treatment if feeling symptoms of depression.
How to Cope Living with Dialysis
Managing mental health has its challenges. Many patients have opted to participate in peer support programs where they are able to share feelings with like-minded individuals. Peer support programs have shown to:
- Help dialysis patients adjust to living with a chronic illness
- Improve well-being
- Decrease feeling of isolation
- Promote better self-management
Peer support allows patients to share experiences that can be seen as common and normal to others. Patients are advised to speak to their medical professionals and ask about their peer support program options.
At KidneySPA we are deeply invested in our patients’ physical and mental health. An online screening proves to be a helpful resource but is not an official diagnosis. We encourage patients to reach out to their doctors and health team.