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How to deal with Preoperative Anxiety

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How to deal with Preoperative Anxiety

Dr. Richa Ahuja
Mental Health And Behavioural Sciences
Mental Health And Behavioural Sciences
Consultant - Clinical Psychology

Anxiety is described as an unpleasant emotional state. Hospitalization and surgery evoke anxiety in most of the patients. It primarily has two main symptoms: physical and psychological.

Physical symptoms are heart palpitations, tremors, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia.

Psychological symptoms are tension, nervousness, fear, irritability, agitation, restlessness and concentration difficulties.

Preoperative anxiety has been known to prolong recovery process, increase susceptibility to infections, cause pains post surgery. While some amount of anxiety is palpable, high anxiety levels need to be addressed.

Factors associated with preoperative anxiety include:

    • Fear of unknown
    • Experienced symptoms
    • Fear of pain
    • Financial worries
    • Fear of death

Coping processes with anxiety include:

Acquiring information about the operative procedure-

For Patients and attendants -

          • the benefits of the operation, the rationale for treatment and the consequences of not having treatment is generally helpful.
            • The information of surgerysuch as the actual steps to the process, how long the operation would last, the location and intensity of the expected postoperative pain might help

Breathing and Relaxation Training

Slow and deep breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation exercises help in relieving anxiety.

Positive Self Talk

Social Support

Emotional support from family and friends

Psychological Counselling

Seeking professional help when anxiety becomes unmanageable.