What is psychological distress?
Uneasy feelings of anxiety or depression in response to physical, spiritual, or emotional demands – or a combination of multiple demands – that result in temporary or permanent harm
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Feelings of anxiety, sadness, or an Wanting to be alone
- Feeling “out of control” or overwhelmed much of the time
- Difficulty coping with everyday problems
- Unable to talk about ways to solve problems or talk about fears
- Needing the help of others to make decisions
- Trouble sleeping
- Not taking care of self
- Looking sad, frow Crying easily. Loss of hope or sense of comfort
- Laughing at odd times
- Aches and pa Feeling that your heart is racing
- Thoughts of suicide or hastening death
- Not wanting to follow the advice of the healthcare team
What to report to the care team?
- Any signs of behaviors listed above
- New onset of reckless behav Talking or thinking about suicide
- Firearms in the home. Hoarding or stockpiling medications
- Seeing images or hearing voices not seen or heard by others
- History of psychiatric illness or history of use of medications taken for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, dementia, or bipolar disorder
- Lack of interest in self or life in general
- If you experience a new problem or if a current problem is getting worse and the present medication does not seem to be working
- Side effects of medications
What can be done for psychological distress?
Psychological distress is common with a terminal disease, especially if physical symptoms are present. Your healthcare team wants you to be physically comfortable. There is a direct link between how one feels physically and how one feels psychologically and emotionally.
Patients and Family
- Do not feel that you are bothering your healthcare team by asking questions
- Asking questions means you care
- You may not feel up to talking with many You may want to have one person to talk to whom you trust
- Try to have a daily routine, including a regular sleep schedule
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise as you are able
- Avoid alcohol and non-prescribed drugs and herbal remedies
- Ask for and accept assistance from your team, including: family, friends, nurses, physicians, nursing assistants, social workers, chaplain
- Provide a calm, relaxing setting
- Be flex The patient may want to talk one day. The next, he/she may need quiet and calm
- Be willing to be with them without having to “do” something
- If needed, help with medications. Report any medication side effects or changes in behavior
- Treat the patient with dignity and respect
- Don’t be afraid to ask for h Do not be hard on yourself with comments like “I should have done this or that” or “I should have known that”
- As much as you can, enjoy this time together and look for ways to make memories