Stress and Psychological Support
It is widely acknowledged that inflammatory bowel disease can seriously affect all aspects of daily life. Furthermore, many patients report that stress exacerbates their symptoms (Mitchell and Drossman 1987; Robertson et al. 1987) and this is supported by clinical studies which indicate that chronic stress and life events can cause relapse in patients with IBD (Mawdaley and Rampton 2005). Therefore better management of stress has potentially crucial implications for patients and healthcare professionals. It can improve resilience and develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. However when this is not achieved, psychological distress in the form of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder can take over which in a vicious cycle impairs further the ability to handle stress.
This chapter will look at the various stress factors which are unique to IBD and how the IBD nurse can psychologically support the patient in daily practice and in turn looking at how the nurse can be supported in order to support the patient.
KeywordsInflammatory bowel disease (IBD) IBD patient IBD nurse Stress Perceived stress Distress Psyche Mind Body Hope Compassion
Finally we would like to thank our patients for teaching us every day about the courage and the resilience needed in order to face the adversity of IBD. This turns working with the IBD patients into a humbling and a deeply rewarding experience.
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