A diagnosis of asbestosis can trigger anxiety, stress and depression.
Coping with the symptoms, worrying about being diagnosed with an asbestos related disease and concerns about the future can trigger a number of different emotional reactions, including stress.
Stress can affect how a person feels, thinks, behaves and how their body works. Common signs of stress include having trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, headaches, tiredness and difficulty concentrating. Stress can also affect blood pressure and breathing, which could worsen a person’s asbestosis symptoms.
There are many ways to cope with the stress and fear associated with a lung condition. With the right knowledge and supportive care, a person should be able to deal with the diagnosis and treatment of asbestosis without adding stress to the list of challenges that come with living with a lung disease.
Don’t go through it alone
Stress can build up and affect how a person feels about life. This stress can lead to anger, frustration, hopelessness and at times, depression. Family members can also be influenced by the on-going health changes of a loved-one with asbestosis.
The most important step anyone can take is to seek help as soon as they feel less able to cope. Taking action early will enable them to understand and deal with the many ill effects of stress. Learning to manage stress will help a person to maintain a positive mental and physical outlook on life, which could help them cope better with their asbestosis condition.
It is best to get medical opinion if a person starts to feel overwhelmed by stress and often a patient will be referred to an expert counsellor through their GP or consultant.
Counselling services can help both a sufferer and their family deal with the stress and anxiety of coping with a lung disease. Counsellors can discuss issues of concern and help to develop and enhance coping abilities. Advisers are able to create a treatment plan to meet specific needs to help a person gain a sense of control and enjoy a better quality of life.
People can also speak to specific help groups, such as the British Lung Foundation, Age UK and Mind. There are also excellent contact helplines, such as the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, for confidential advice and emotional support.
Some useful tips for reducing stress include:
- Keep a positive attitude on life. Remind yourself that nothing wastes more energy than worrying. Worrying is a complete waste of energy. No matter how much you think, it will not solve anything. Worry gives you nothing but bad feelings.
- Accept that there are events which you cannot control. By accepting the things that you have little or no control over you will be surprised at how quickly you start to feel more in control. You can choose how you think about these things and if you spend less time worrying about them you have more time to focus on the areas you can control.
- Be assertive instead of aggressive. ‘Assert’ your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative or even passive.
- Eat well balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when you are physically fit. Even if it’s just a stroll through your local park or down the road every day, getting out and about can make you feel a lot better with yourself.
- Learn to relax. There are multiple exercises that you can do to relax; breathing exercises, muscle and mind relaxation, and even listening to music are just a few ideas. Be sure that you have a quiet, distraction free location.
- Rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Don’t rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.
For further reading, why don’t you try:
NHS Choices – Relaxation tips to relieve stress