psychological support

It can be very demoralising when your RA is causing you pain or discomfort. The psychological impact of the condition is often underestimated. It is quite common for people with RA to get depressed about their situation.

Sometimes RA can deteriorate quite quickly and this can be very worrying. There can be a sense of loss, isolation and frustration because of RA flare-ups. Sleeplessness is an issue frequently reported by people with RA and this can have a huge impact on your daily life. The fact that a new treatment is being suggested may create hope that your symptoms will be controlled, but it may also cause worry.

Psychological support may not necessarily be offered routinely. However, it might be very beneficial. It is a good idea to ask about support and patient education/counselling.

Arthritis Ireland, your GP, rheumatology nurse specialist, or another health professional such as an occupational therapist may be able to help. If there is a support group to attend, it may be very useful to share experiences. Perhaps you could even consider starting one?

Often hospital doctors are pressurised for time because of a heavy workload, so actively seeking support from other sources may be a more practical option. Patient education and advice can help people to deal with the challenges that RA brings to your psychological wellbeing and quality of life.

For more information and to find out about arthritis support services, log on to Arthritis Ireland at www.arthritisireland