Young Adults Living With RA
When rheumatoid arthritis strikes decades earlier than usual.
Handling Emotions continued...
But she tries not to let the disease stop her from doing the things she enjoys most. “On good days, when I am teaching and in my element, sometimes I even forget I have RA. But still, there is no escaping the fact that life is going to be a constant struggle from here on.”
It's important that RA patients who are struggling with their emotions understand that they are not alone. “We remind patients that the feelings they are having are normal and that there are other patients out there who are going through the same thing,” Manno says. “It is very important that patients have a strong support network.”
Some patients turn to their family members and friends, while others find comfort in support groups. Manno suggests contacting the Arthritis Foundation to find a group in your area. Individual counseling is also an option for patients who are depressed or anxious.
It is also important to be educated about the disease and share your knowledge with family and friends. “The more patients know, the better they can manage,” says Eric Matteson, MD, MPH, chair of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic. “It helps to take the fear out of the disease when you understand it better, and when you know that there is a lot which can be done for it.”