Living with PTSD and Hepatitis C (Part 3)

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Karen’s series on PTSD.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can come from a lot of little traumas and hepatitis C is one of them. Sure, we all think of someone who has had a big trauma like a violent event or an attack. But discovering you have a chronic illness that can kill you is traumatic. There may be many side effects and symptoms of having hepatitis C. You might require a lot of medications, procedures, and hospitalizations. After years of this, combined with hepatitis encephalopathy, trauma is a real thing in many of our lives. Your healthcare provider can help to diagnose and offer treatment options.

My doctor and I came up with solutions for PTSD after a year of “old school” hep C treatment and a massive varices bleed. Here are some ways to cope with trauma and stress before, during, and after a hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment.

Support System

Be sure that your medical provider is aware and on board with your diagnosis. Let a personal support system, such as family and friends in on your personal battle. If they are not able to offer you much help, I suggest a group or a recovery program. Most mental health organizations such as National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI have classes scheduled. Many churches offer the same type of support.

Therapy

You may need additional talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. An expert can help you to build new coping skills. When you get off track mentally or emotionally, there are tools to lend a hand while working through it.

Prayer and Meditation

Some consider these to be different, but I use them both. Prayer is a way of communicating with a higher power, or God, who can provide comfort and support. By asking a higher Source for help, it is easier to get out from underneath the burden of having illness from the hepatitis C virus and liver disease or cirrhosis. Meditation is a way of quieting your mind. By remaining in a non-thinking or listening state, your busy mind gets a rest from the cycle of worrying or being in stress.

Medication

Some doctors may offer to use an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. These can act as great buffers while you are learning new skills. By helping your body to heal from the virus – and changing your environment and behavior – your life can drastically improve.

Exercise

There is so much research to back up the mental benefits of physical exercise. Good hormones and chemicals are released which bathe your brain and body with a pleasant and energetic mindset.

Nutrition

Eating simple food can help your whole body and mind to feel better. Getting a variety of fresh wholesome food and avoiding junk is always a good step toward mental clarity.

These tips have helped me to keep trauma and stress to a minimum. It takes practice and you have to be diligent; however, I can promise that peace of mind is there when you seek it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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