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There can be a lot of changes and uncertainty with kidney disease, which can cause anxiety for some people. Each person may experience anxiety in different ways.

Anxiety can affect your quality of life, the way you understand information and make decisions, worsen your pain, or generally create many challenges.

Feelings of anxiety can increase or decrease at different times. You may become more anxious if your kidney disease becomes more severe or treatment becomes more intense. It is important to assess how you and others in your life are coping at different stages and times while living with kidney disease.

If you have problems with anxiety for prolonged periods of time, you may want to talk with your doctor or another member of your care team. 

You are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety during kidney treatment if you have:

  • Severe discomfort or pain
  • Little support (e.g., from friends, family, professionals)
  • Stressful life situation or other worries
  • A history of anxiety disorder
  • A history of physical or emotional trauma

Anxiety caused by kidney disease and/or treatments:

Kidney disease may also cause physical problems and challenges that lead to anxiety. Medications and treatments can cause feelings of anxiety. If you feel anxious after beginning a new medication or treatment, talk to your doctor, nephrologist or social worker. Many patients experience anxiety connected to fear of uncontrolled pain, being alone, having to depend on others or when coping with change. Many of these factors can be managed with adequate support.

You may experience anxiety with any change in your life. Examples include changes in your health or the health of a family member, as well as changes in life circumstances.  


A phobia is an extreme fear of or aversion to something. Certain fears, such as things like closed spaces or needles, may interfere with your treatment plan. Make sure your health care team knows of any anxiety-related health issues you may be experiencing or have experienced in the past.

Coping with Anxiety: 

Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, calming techniques, medications, counselling and getting support from friends and family members are some ways to ease anxiety.

You can learn more on our Muscle Relaxation and Deep Breathing pages.

If anxiety begins to interfere with your ability to enjoy life, you might consider speaking to your kidney care team, a social worker, a counsellor or psychologist, as well as seeking relaxation and wellness resources.

*This content was originally created by BC Cancer and repurposed by BC Renal

SOURCE: Anxiety ( )
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