The emotional effects of kidney patient failure

Coming to terms with diagnosis

People who are diagnosed with kidney failure are confronted with a range of emotions. Different people react in different ways. Even so, there is a pattern to the way that most people react.

It may help to know about the emotional stages that patients may go through:

  • Shock: Often, newly diagnosed patients (and sometimes their family members) go into a state of shock. This is the feeling that life is going on around you but you are not really involved.

  • Grief: People may feel overwhelmed by grief and loss, as if they have been bereaved. They may feel helpless and have difficulty thinking clearly or dealing with day to day life.

  • Denial: It's common for people to decide, at this stage, that they "won't think about it." This denial that the disease exists is like a "defense mechanism" that can help patients escape from feeling overwhelmed until they are more able to cope.

  • Acceptance: Gradually, reality of kidney failure is acknowledged, and people begin to be able to think about the implications and the changes that need to be made. At this point of acceptance, they begin to adjust successfully to their condition.
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