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Adjusting to dialysis is a highly stressful time. Whether you’re new to dialysis – or comfortably settled into the dialysis regime – you can all relate to the fact that life seldom takes you on a straight path. You can expect some ups and downs. These may be related to your health; the strain of travelling to dialysis 3 times a week or pressures of doing your treatments at home; the challenge of keeping up with family and household responsibilities; changes in life circumstances; financial pressures or conflict in your family/personal relationships – and this list is by no means exhaustive.
"My thoughts when I found out I had to start dialysis suddenly, in the hospital"
"I learned that dialysis doesn’t limit what I can do in life"
Through all of these many changes it is important that you talk with the people who are closest to you. Let them know how you are feeling and take time to also listen to their concerns as well. Your social worker is also available to assist you and your family in understanding and coping with your experiences. Please do not hesitate to contact your social worker by telephone or ask to see him/her while you are on dialysis. You have a caring team of people available to help.
"I enjoy helping my wife dialyze at home"
For more of Bryan's experiences adjusting and coping with Dialysis
Persistent and ongoing stress can have damaging affects on your health and well-being. Ongoing stress can affect our emotional and intellectual well-being and can cause:
More information and helpful links can be found at the end of this section.
Some fear, anxiety, anger and low mood can be a normal part of adjusting to life on dialysis. Learning to effectively cope with stress can ease our bodies and our minds.
If you are struggling with these feelings please speak with a member of your health care team. Renal Social Workers are available to help you identify worrying emotions and address ways of coping that may be helpful.
"Talking about it makes it feel less scary"
You may also benefit from talking to someone in similar circumstances. The Peer Support Program through the Kidney Foundation is available to patients or family members. It is a volunteer support service, where other patients or family members provide support, primarily by telephone. You can request service directly by calling 1-877-202-8222. Or speak with your social worker who can make that request on your behalf.
Some people find the following tips helpful to address stress.
"Body Image and Peritoneal Dialysis"
"I have more energy since starting dialysis"
"Don’t be afraid of your tears"
"Dialysis made me feel better and I got my life back"
"Dialysis gave me a passion for life"
"Coming to terms with being on dialysis"
Dr. Mike Evans "The single most important thing you can do for
To learn more about the impact of stress and how to identify and manage stress.
To learn more about depression and dialysis see the “Dealing with Depression” information.
Fresnius Medical Care:
To learn more about depression and dialysis. This website gives some helpful ideas to differentiate between common symptoms of kidney disease and depression. You will also find some tips on coping with low mood.
Fresnius Medical Care:
To learn more about anger and dialysis. You will read about anger as a common reaction to needing dialysis. You will also find some common strategies for dealing with anger.
Canadian Mental Health Association:
To learn more about anxiety, this website will give you information to help identify anxiety, some common experiences of anxiety as well as anxiety disorders.