Psychological Effects Of Kidney Transplant That Every Transplant Recipient Should Be Aware Of
Being stressed over a life-changing event such as a kidney transplant is quite normal. But too much stress can harmfully impact your health and recovery. Understanding the psychological effects of kidney transplant can help you cope with mental stress and recover faster.
Psychological Effects Of Kidney Transplant Before Surgery:
You will need several health tests to decide whether the surgery will be safe for you and the donor available is the suitable match for your body. It is possible that you are being called in for a transplant and knowing that the organ was not a right match for you. Try not to be discouraged. Another kidney could be available soon.
The other factors that make you anxious before the surgery include worrying about not surviving the operation or potential risks associated with operation. Worrying about having prolonged hospital stays or financial problems can cause stress. Feeling dependent on others or helpless or loss of control over life are other psychological effects of organ transplant before surgery.
Feelings Of Guilt:
Most people feel guilty about getting a kidney from a deceased or living donor. Some get the thinking that someone has to die for them to receive an organ and feel like being a burden to others.
In many religions, the donation is encouraged as an act of love and charity. Advancements in modern medicine made possible organ donations successful and less complicated. After live organ donations, most donors typically feel positive about the experience. In the case of receiving organs from a deceased donor, understanding that both donor family and recipient family get a sense of meaning from death through transplant can help overcome guilt.
For some people, expressing gratitude to the donor family can make them feel better. If you received a kidney donation from an anonymous donor, organ donation organizations would not allow you to directly contact without the donor family’s consent. Still, you can express your thanks by writing a letter that your organ donation organization can pass on to them.
Psychological Effects Of Kidney Transplant Medications (Immunosuppressants):
Immunosuppressants such as tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and steroids (prednisolone) will be given during the transplant and after the transplant to prevent the rejection of a new kidney by your body. They are powerful drugs as they suppress the immune system and cause mood changes.
The blood levels of the medications will be closely monitored by your health care professionals. You need to be aware that some medications, food items, and supplements may alter the immunosuppressant levels in the blood. Some of the common ones are anti seizure medications, St. John’s wort, erythromycin, grape juice, and tuberculosis drugs. Take them as recommended to limit side effects.
Disappointments With Transplantation And Recovery:
Medical or postoperative complications can occur after a transplant. Acute rejection can happen within the first 3 to 6 months after the transplantation. Or, Chronic rejection that occurs slowly over the years after transplant may happen.
Don’t get afraid if your health care provider says that you have a rejection episode. It doesn’t mean that your new kidney will be rejected entirely. Changing the dose of immunosuppressant drugs usually treats this situation. Since too little immunosuppressants put you at a rejection, too much drugs can put you at side effects.
Lifestyle Changes Oriented Psychological Effects Of Organ Transplant:
Having a hard time following the recommendations suggested by your physicians, such as physical activity guidelines, diet or fluid restrictions, or abstaining from cigarettes or alcohol can cause stress. The new medications you take may have unpleasant side effects which impact your quality of life.
Your transplant team may ask to not involve in sex for four to six weeks after your transplant. Changes in self-esteem or emotional health, side effects of medicines, or physical condition may cause loss of sex drive or ability. You may be advised not to work until three to six weeks after surgery. You may also be given limits to what you can or cannot do, at least in the beginning (such as you should not lift objects that weigh more than 4kgs).
Recognize that most of these changes are temporary. Though it may take months to feel normal again, you will feel much better over time. You can switch to flexible schedules or part-time roles. If you need a new job or changes in your previous job, a social worker in the transplant team can connect you with a career counselor.
Get Help And Take Control Of Your Health:
As stress is normal, though, you cannot ignore the constant anxiety. When your mental health is compromised, it will make it hard to take medicines properly. You may be less likely to make healthy food choices and participate in physical activity. It may alter the immune system function and can lead to increased illness and slow recovery.
Let your transplant team know your psychological effects of organ transplant. They may support you and adjust the medicines if required. They can also refer you to a psychiatrist or support groups. Joining support groups can make you getintroduced to people with similar experiences, and it can make a big difference.
- Try out new and meaningful hobbies. Listening to or playing music or creative works like painting or crafting helps relieve stress.
- Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises or guided imagery.
- Use mobile apps to track, organize and set reminders about doctor appointments, taking medications and physical activity.
- Talk to the loved ones about how you feel and share your appreciation with your health care team and caregivers.
- Join online or local support groups and share your story with others.
Adjust Your Perspective:
Be kind to yourself and try accepting what you cannot change. Remember that everyone’s transplant journey is unique, and avoid comparing yourselves with other patients. Fears and anxiety and recovering slower than expected can be no questionably hard. Strictly following post-transplantation care and seeking help from your health care team if you are unwell can definitely bring your life back.