The Dangers of Isolation with Hepatitis C
Isolation due to hepatitis C can have devastating effects on someone’s health. Hepatitis C patients can have challenges to deal with, but one of the greatest dangers is isolation. Isolation can keep a patient from reaching out for healthcare, support, and help as they deal with hepatitis C. Isolation can lead to the risk of their condition getting worse and causing ripple effects of fear, depression, loneliness, and a suppressed immune system. Just like throwing a pebble in a pond makes ripples, so can isolation with hepatitis C.
There are many reasons that isolation may cause hepatitis C patients to fall into danger:
One of the biggest dangers of isolation is caused by stigma. When someone has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, one of their first questions can be, “How did I get hepatitis C?”. Drug use has been heavily reported as the way hepatitis C is transmitted, which is true, but, it’s not the only way hepatitis C is transmitted. People can fear what others think, which drives them further into isolation.
Some people may never know how they contracted hepatitis C. The fact is, it doesn’t matter how you got it, what matters is doing something about it.
Concern for loss of job or relationships
Some people may feel that if they tell others about their hepatitis C diagnosis, they could lose their job or even face rejection of relationships. Truth is, hepatitis C patients are protected under the American Disabilities Act to not lose their job. Regarding relationships, sharing the facts of hepatitis C and truth about transmission can help dispel myths and fears that can come between relationships.
Lack of facts and information
When first diagnosed, I had many questions, like “Could I give hepatitis C to others by touching, hugging, kissing, or cooking for them?” and “How will this affect my relationship with my husband, kids, and family?”.
I wrote down all my questions and asked my doctor who helped put my mind at ease with explaining the facts of transmission. Learning the facts about hepatitis C helped pulled me out of isolation and dispelled fear. It also equipped me with knowledge on how to take care of myself and share information with others.
No medical insurance
If someone doesn’t have medical insurance or financial means for healthcare and treatment, they may feel overwhelmed, hopeless, and helpless.
Truth is, there are many patient assistant programs available to help patients with treatment and healthcare that do not have medical insurance or need help with co-pays.
Fear and denial
Fear and denial can stem from isolation. Fear of the “what-if’s” or denial are roadblocks to getting beyond hepatitis C and being proactive with your care. Reaching out to family, friends, or professionals can help you overcome fear and move forward.
Lack of support
Lack of support is a danger of isolation. Building a support team is an important part of fighting hepatitis C and the healing process in recovery.
Sharing your experience and interaction with others who understand what you’re going through helps draw you out of isolation and provides encouragement, strength, and hope.
Loneliness and depression
Isolation can make someone feel alone and depressed, which is breeding ground for a spiral of emotional, mental, and physical decline. Reaching out to others for help, and support helps fight loneliness and depression.
Suppressed immune system
A suppressed immune system can come from depression, loneliness, lack of support and not taking care of yourself. A proactive step in fighting hepatitis C is taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Reaching out to others for help, building a support team, interacting with others, and sharing what you’re going through with hepatitis lifts your spirit, encourages you to take care of yourself, and helps boost your immune system. This helps your body as it fights hepatitis C.
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