Reflective accounts

Rheumatoid arthritis

A CPD article enhanced Rose Gallacher’s knowledge of the psychological effects of rheumatoid arthritis

A CPD article enhanced Rose Gallacher’s knowledge of the psychological effects of rheumatoid arthritis.

Abstract

After reading this article and completing the time out activities, I better understand the complexity of the psychological effects a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can bring. This may include anxiety, frustration, shock, anger, helplessness, depression, or denial and grief for the loss of health.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common long-term inflammatory condition that most frequently affects the hands, feet and knees. The cause is unknown, there is no cure, and a familial history of the condition increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

A person living with rheumatoid arthritis may be psychologically affected by the experience of having to adapt to an altered body image. Approximately 30% of people reported feeling negative and sexually unattractive because of the physical changes in normal joint functioning caused by pain, stiffness, swelling, deformities, disabilities, clumsiness, heavier limbs and fatigue.

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This reflective account is based on NS771 Ryan S (2014) Psychological effects of living with rheumatoid arthritis. Nursing Standard. 29, 13, 52-59.

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