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Insight 5: Emotional and psychological support

(Treatment week 3 of 12)

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Support networks

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While I have a few side-effects, these have all be manageable. Often before starting treatment I would regularly have brain frog. This is common for people living with hepatitis C. Already in the early stages of my treatment, this brain for has gone and I feel I can focus better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Health and well-being tracker

 

 

 

 

Emotional Support

I feel emotional support can be just as valuable as treatments. Being able to talk with others in similar situations, as well as those who have been through treatment and are now free of the virus, can make a huge difference in treatment outcomes. This kind of support can help patients see the value in pushing through the treatment and the side effects, finishing treatment, and becoming healthy again.

 

Feelings

It’s not unusual to have feelings of isolation or depression. There may also be feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, self-pity, fear, anxiety or self-blame. The most important thing to remember is that there are people you can talk to – you don’t have to cope with anything on your own.

 

Choice

Deciding which support option works for you will be a totally individual choice. If you feel unable to talk to your family or friends, speak to your doctor or nurse or contact a local support group. Next week’s insight with be focusing on AbbVie Care which is a patient support programme.

 

Peer to Peer

Local support groups often run drop-in sessions or can arrange for you to meet other people who have hepatitis C. Just being listened to and understood can make a real difference.

 

What support you choose will depend on many factors, such as availability, finances, time constraints and whether you prefer talking to people in groups or individually. It will also depend on what you are hoping to get from it, and how your health is at any given time.

 

The Hepatitis C Trust Helpline: 0845 223 4424 Run by people with personal experience of hepatitis C, the Hepatitis C Trust runs a confidential helpline and provides information, support and representation for people with hep C, including accessing treatment. They also provide a directory of local hep C support groups and help for people wishing to start their own support group.

 

The British Liver Trust

 

Harm Reduction Works

 

FRANK

 

The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD)

 

Release

 

Online

I find there are many useful support networks online including Facebook and Twitter   +supportgroups and HCV support. These groups are able to offer education and further support. One reason I decided to write my insights through my hepatitis C treatment was to enable me to support myself. I found these insights have given me a better understanding of my treatment and care experience.

 

Timing 

There is no 'right' time to seek emotional or psychological support. You do not have to wait until you are feeling depressed or stressed. It is perfectly possible to benefit from emotional support at any time. It may just be a way of feeling better about yourself and your life than you already do.

 

Tiredness, loss of concentration, lowered sex drive, and changes in sleep and eating patterns, can also be physiological effects of your hepatitis C and treatment. Feeling isolated, helpless or alone is an excellent reason to seek out some hepatitis C support.

 

Family and friends

Families and close friends can be greatly affected by a loved one's hepatitis C status and treatment experience. Often they are not offered any kind of emotional or psychological support. If someone you care about is diagnosed with hepatitis C or going through treatment, you may have many feelings, questions and worries about it regardless of their current health status.

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