Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a lifelong condition and requires medical treatment. The stress of living with a chronic, progressive condition can affect your mental health.
Managing CKD requires vigilance, and your mental health is a factor. Conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder can worsen your symptoms. They may also make it harder to follow your treatment plan or practice the healthy habits you need to live well with CKD.
People with CKD may also experience cognitive decline, and researchers are conducting studies to see how the conditions are related.
It’s important to seek help from your doctor or a mental health professional to manage your mental health and well-being. There are also ways you can improve your outlook in your everyday life to make coping with CKD easier.
The relationship between CKD and mental health works in both directions. CKD can affect your mental health, and your mental health can affect your CKD.
Researchers are trying to find the connections between the kidneys and the brain to find out more about how CKD can impact mental well-being.
There’s research that suggests that cognitive impairment such as dementia could relate to circulatory system damage that affects the kidneys and brain.
There isn’t a definitive connection between CKD and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, though these often occur together.
You may experience mental health changes because of the stressors associated with CKD. These may include:
- the logistics and cost of treatment
- restrictions to your lifestyle or working life
- the need to rely on others
- living with CKD symptoms or complications
- uncertainty about your health or future
Those with more advanced CKD or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) may find that the demands of their treatment worsen their mental well-being.
Mental health conditions can also impact your physical health. Stress, anxiety, and depression can:
- alter your sleeping and eating habits
- raise your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which can impact kidney health
- impact how you cope with and follow your CKD treatment