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Adjusting to Dialysis

Finding out that your kidneys are failing or have failed can create different emotions in an individual. Sadness, grief, denial, acceptance, depression, anger, fear, or guilt are all typical feelings that people may experience—whether you have known for years that your kidneys are failing or whether it was sudden. This often results in behavioral changes, including moodiness, irritability, confusion, fatigue, memory difficulty, sleeping disorders, problems with anger, and feeling on “edge.”

Recognizing that kidney failure creates emotional and behavioral reactions, and coping with these feelings is an essential part to successfully adjusting to kidney failure and the need for dialysis.

There are several ways in which to cope with kidney failure—find out which ones will work best for you. If faced with depression, it is important to talk to your physician, family, and/or seek psychotherapy. Monitoring your depression levels is important to your overall health. Research shows that if you are depressed your body is not going to respond as well to treatment. Likewise, depression can hinder your ability to comply with your treatments and compliance is essential to keeping up your overall health.

Stay active and continue to do the things that you enjoy, as much as you are able, as this is important to maintaining or enhancing your quality of life. Seek education about your illness, keep your sense of humor and do not isolate yourself—having close relationships with family and friends will help you adjust to these life changes.

Upon starting dialysis, you will meet your social worker who will help guide you through the adjustment process by linking you to resources, listening to your concerns or through a counseling referral. Adjustment may be difficult but we want you to know that at Liberty Dialysis, you are not alone.