Coping Strategies for Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms, New Diagnosis and Treatment
There are different types of peripheral neuropathy, and each type has its own set of unique symptoms. Symptoms can vary in intensity and may come and go and may also worsen over time.
More than 20 million individuals in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy. It can often be overwhelming when you receive a new diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. You may feel scared, confused and alone. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone, and there are many others who are living with this condition.
1. Understand the facts about your condition
One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself about your condition. Learn as much as you can about peripheral neuropathy. This will help you understand your symptoms and make informed decisions about your treatment options.
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, infections, injuries and exposure to certain toxins. In some cases, the cause of peripheral neuropathy is unknown. Treatment plans will vary depending on the underlying cause of your condition and may include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Lifestyle changes, or
2. Find a support network
If you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, it is important to find a support system. Many resources are available to help you cope with your diagnosis and manage your symptoms. Support groups, online forums and hotlines can provide you with information and emotional support.
Finding help and support from others living with peripheral neuropathy can be invaluable. These individuals understand what you are going through and can offer helpful advice and support. They can also provide a sense of community and belonging.
Professional organizations, such as The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), can offer resources and support.
3. Understand and express your emotions
It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions after receiving a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. You may feel scared, angry, confused or sad, and it is important to understand and express your emotions healthily. Disbelief, fear, anxiety and depression are all common reactions to a new diagnosis.
Some helpful ways to deal with your emotions include talking to a friend or family member, attending a support group, writing in a journal or talking to a therapist. Emotions can vary day to day living with a chronic illness, but it’s important to remember that these emotions are normal, and expressing them in a healthy way can help you cope.
4. Make healthy habits and lifestyle changes
Living with peripheral neuropathy often requires making some lifestyle changes. Focusing on your abilities rather than some new limitations that come with your diagnosis can be empowering. Some important lifestyle changes to take on may include:
- Modifying your diet
- Exercise routine and sleep habits
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking, and
- Managing stress
Making these changes can help you better manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Living a healthy lifestyle can also help reduce your risk of complications.
5. Set realistic goals
After receiving a peripheral neuropathy diagnosis, setting realistic goals for yourself is important. This condition can be difficult to manage, and there is no cure; treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing further damage. Some realistic goals you may set for yourself include:
- Learning as much as you can about your condition
- Making healthy lifestyle changes
- Discovering your faith and spirituality
- Utilizing self-care tools like meditation, journaling, or light yoga
- Improving your overall quality of life
Adopting healthy coping methods is essential when learning to live with a chronic illness. Remember that you are not alone, and support is available to help you manage your condition. Emotional support, healthy coping mechanisms and realistic goal setting can all help you live a fulfilling life despite your diagnosis.
Coping with a new diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy can be difficult. However, there are many resources and support systems available to help you. Learning as much as possible about your condition, making healthy lifestyle changes and setting realistic goals are all important steps in managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.
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- “Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet”. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- “Home”. Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
- “Managing & Coping with Neuropathy”. Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
- “Peripheral Neuropathy Support Groups”. Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
- “Support Resources”. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- “Incorporating Spirituality in Primary Care”. National Library of Medicine
- “Peripheral neuropathy- Diagnosis and treatment”. Mayo Clinic