Colitis causes significant discomfort in the people who suffer from it, affecting quality of life and resulting in depression in many people. Because of the pain and urgency associated with colitis, many people avoid social interaction and become more isolated, resulting in a worsening of emotional side effects. As they become more depressed, those emotional side effects can actually make their disease become worse, resulting in a cycle that can be extremely difficult to break.
If you suffer from colitis or you have a loved one who does, learning a few simple coping tips can go a long way toward managing the disease’s emotional side effects:
• Exercise: Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can have a significant effect on relieving the symptoms of depression. Even during a flare-up, activities like tai chi or yoga or even walking can help release endorphins that can help elevate your mood while helping you feel healthier and more in control.
• Learn to meditate: Meditation, self-hypnosis, mindful breathing and other stress-relieving techniques are surprisingly effective when it comes to managing stress, but it can take time to learn how to use these techniques effectively. The key is to take your time, commit to practicing the techniques regularly, and don’t become frustrated if it takes some time to “get the hang of it.”
• See a psychologist or counselor: Sometimes, getting help from an outside resource like a mental health professional can be just what you need to learn how to manage stress and depression so you can lead a happier life. Ask your colitis doctor to recommend someone who understands the connection between depression and diseases like colitis.
• Seek out a support group: Many hospitals and medical centers offer support groups for people who suffer from colitis or other gastrointestinal disorders, and there are several options online as well. Visit sites like Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America or check with your nearest hospital for local and online resources.
• Be like a Boy Scout: When going out, remember the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared. Use your smartphone to download an app that uses your GPS location to find bathrooms along your route. Apps are available for both iPhone and Android-based devices.
Finally, talk to your doctor about colitis treatment options. Today, there are surgical techniques that can help you manage colitis so you can lead a fuller, more active life. At The Center for Ileostomy Surgery, Dr. Schiller is skilled in helping patients get the colitis treatment they need to feel better. Call 855-396-0797 today or visit us online to schedule an appointment.