Psychological effects of living with rheumatoid arthritis
Sarah Ryan Nurse consultant, rheumatology, Haywood Hospital, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term inflammatory condition that can affect physical, psychological and social function. The condition is not curable – although drug therapy can be used to reduce inflammation – and patients often experience daily symptoms of joint pain and stiffness, fatigue and functional limitations. Patients may also experience psychological challenges. This article focuses on the psychological implications of living with rheumatoid arthritis, including reaction to diagnosis, anxiety and depression, body image, sexuality, self-esteem and social role. It aims to explore the role of the nurse in addressing these psychological challenges to optimise the physical and psychological status of each patient.
Nursing Standard. 29, 13, 52-59. doi: 10.7748/ns.29.13.52.e9484Peer review
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
Received: 11 August 2014
Accepted: 12 September 2014