• Question: What advice would you give to someone who has anxiety due to a condition they may have (such as cancer or progeria)?

    Asked by Minipsychiatrist to Chris, Emma, Jonathan, Katharine, Shehla, Simon on 13 Jun 2017.
    • Photo: Christopher Symonds

      Christopher Symonds answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      As a non clinician I am not qualified to answer this, sorry

    • Photo: Emma Rowe

      Emma Rowe answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      Great question Minipsychiatrist! Anxiety is really hard to deal with in any capacity but is often even harder when it is driven by an accompanying illness.
      Progeria (please someone correct me if wrong as I am no expert) is a genetic condition so I would hope there would be support of genetics counsellors who would know far more than me. This is the same for cancer patients, who should have specialised support.
      As a Practice Nurse, I can offer a safe, listening space to chat with patients so they can offload. It is also important for me to direct to appropriate services like the GP or hospital when it is something that I am unable or untrained to deal with.
      With anxiety, it is important to talk about how you feel and how it affects you so I often recommend talking therapies such as CBT which helps patients develop coping mechanisms.

    • Photo: Jonathan Harte

      Jonathan Harte answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      Hi, An interesting question. The key will be to understand why the patient is anxious. Is it due to lack of knowledge about the condition they have, fear of symptoms it may cause, fear of death? It may be due to misunderstanding about the condition. The anxiety is often not due to the obvious issue you may think of.

      So first up don’t give advice – but listen to them, ask open questions, take a bit of time before you jump in to try and understand more about their anxiety.

      Then work with them to agree what they want to do about it and how you can help them get there.

    • Photo: Katharine Bradbury

      Katharine Bradbury answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      Anxiety is a really common symptom and it’s entirely understandably to be anxious about a serious health condition. I would take time to listen to why they felt anxious and address their concerns. Things that may help them are talking to family and friends, finding about more about their condition, joining support groups online, having counselling, breathing techniques and making time to exercise and eat healthily.