Being diagnosed with hepatitis C is a major life change. It is vital that you seek advice, information and undertake treatment to prevent long term damage to your liver.
Being diagnosed and living with any potentially serious chronic illness is a major life change. It can be a physical, practical, emotional, psychological and spiritual challenge. You are required to learn and understand new information about the infection and your health. You will also need to deal with new situations, confront feelings, thoughts and beliefs that you may never have had before. Sometimes it can mean lifestyle changes, on either a short-term or long-term basis.
Trying to make sense of, and coming to terms with what the infection means for you personally takes time, effort and support. In addition, hepatitis C still carries a degree of stigma in our society, which can add considerable weight to the burden of dealing with it.
It’s important to remember that a lot has changed in relation to treatment for Hep C, there is now a CURE with an over 95% cure rate. This treatment involves usually involves a short course of oral medication for 8-12 weeks.
Download our Hep C & Me leaflet which outlines some of the views of our clients as they began their journey towards treatment.
When is a good time to seek support?
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. In addition, if you find yourself persistently experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms of stress and depression, it is a good idea to look for professional help:
• Feeling numb, anxious, panicky, angry, or weepy all the time
• Losing interest in life generally
• Feeling tired and 'dull' all the time
• Changes in appetite (eating too little or too much)
• Changes in sleep patterns (waking up early, insomnia, oversleeping)
• Loss of sex drive
• Suicidal thoughts
• Constant self-criticism or 'feeling bad about yourself’
• Loss of concentration
• Finding yourself caught up in addictive or self-destructive behaviours
Some of these, such as tiredness, loss of concentration, lowered sex drive, and changes in sleep and eating patterns, can also be physiological effects of your hepatitis C.