The Anxiety behind Mesothelioma

The Anxiety behind Mesothelioma
The Anxiety behind Mesothelioma
September 11, 2016

Being diagnosed of mesothelioma may sound like being sentenced to death by firing squad. No one in their right senses would know his or her life is ticking away and will not be faced with some form of anxiety. There are visible signs to know if one is anxious or not.

Anxiety can make treatment for mesothelioma more difficult

A level of anxiety can be considered as normal but when elevated to a certain height, it may become a health risk. Patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment needs to be in a relaxed mental state as mental stress would affect the growth and development of healthy cells. Research has shown that forty four percent of cancer patients report some form of anxiety while twenty one percent would report elevated anxiety requiring treatment.

Read also: Breaking Bad News to Mesothelioma Victims and Families

A number of risk factors have been associated with anxiety

There are certain factors that have been pinpointed as the predisposing factors for anxiety among patients undergoing cure for mesothelioma. These factors include uncontrolled pain, cancer progression against treatment, and lack of emotional support, drug or alcohol abuse. Those who cannot take good care of themselves due to elevated pain will soon become anxious.

There is genetic factor to anxiety

Anxiety does not only result from what happens around the patient. Those with personal or family history of anxiety disorder would need to be more prone to getting the disorder if it has been passed down from their parents. Those with history of physical or emotional trauma may be psychologically more predisposed to becoming anxious because of past experience.

Read also: The Need for Mesothelioma Patients to Plan Realistic New Year Resolution

Anxiety needs to be tackled when it becomes a major problem

Like mentioned earlier, a mild case of anxiety can be considered normal but when it begins to affect your health, it needs to be handled professionally. Anxiety becomes a problem when it begins to affect your sleep habit, weight or appetite, ability to work, ability to complete your mesothelioma treatment or make decision about your care and your relationship with others.

Mesothelioma patient needs to be screened for anxiety

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network in 1999 recommended that cancer patients would need to undergo routine screening and treatment for elevated anxiety and other forms of emotional distress. Now many oncology practices have made routine screening for symptoms of anxiety compulsory for their mesothelioma patients and onward referral to mental health professionals.

Read also: Different Questions You are Expected to Ask Your Mesothelioma Oncologist

Anti-anxiety medications can be used with mesothelioma treatment

There are a good number of anti-anxiety medications that can be used with mesothelioma and they are as follows, Xanax (Alprazolam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Valium (Diazepam) and Klonopin (Clonazepam). Ativan is usually used alongside chemotherapy because it also has an anti-emetic effect.

Cancer patients may be reluctant to take anxiety medication

Staying on cancer medication is already a big deal and becoming addicted to another medication can be a huge problem and this is one of the reasons why mesothelioma patients may be reluctant about taking anxiety medication. Unknown to those groups of people is that short term use of such drugs can significantly improve their quality of life.

Counseling and other techniques can be used to reduce anxiety

For patients that may be reluctant about anxiety medications, there are other techniques that can be used to help them overcome their anxiety. Psychotherapy is employed to challenge the irrational belief that contributes to the patient’s anxiety. Learning about mesothelioma can help patients understand that it is not as bad as they may have thought. Lack of knowledge on a subject matter is bound to increase anxiety.

Read also: How Mesothelioma Caregivers can Cope with the Stress

Article highlights

  • Mesothelioma is associated with exposure to asbestos.
  • Cancer patients are often faced with anxiety.
  • There are certain levels of anxiety that can be considered normal.
  • Elevated anxiety would need professional attention.
  • Mesothelioma patients are often scared of taking anxiety medications for fear of addiction.
  • There are a number of anxiety medications that can go with mesothelioma treatment.
  • Counseling and other forms of non-drug medication can be used for mesothelioma patients.
  • There is a need to constantly screen mesothelioma patients for anxiety.
  • Elevated anxiety can make mesothelioma treatment more difficult.
  • When anxiety affects your relationship and output, you need professional attention.

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