Surgery – Preparing before and after
Surgical procedures ranging from biopsies to full extensive surgery involve psychological and physical strain for patients. Patients may experience anticipatory anxiety about being in pain, loss of control, reaction to anesthesia, destruction of body image, disruption of life plans, and death. Friends and relatives may also have difficulties adapting to these challenges, which may leave patients on their own to cope.
Anxiety about upcoming medical interventions, both simple and complex, can be very distressing. The anticipatory anxiety of patients not only magnifies a patients’ intra-procedural anxiety, but also can affect a patients’ pain during the procedure. Furthermore, anticipatory anxiety is a predictor of medication use during the procedure, individuals who are very anxious and distressed tend to receive more medication with or without requesting it. This may result in over sedation of patients, which may become evident only after the procedure. Patients with higher initial anxiety can therefore be more prone to undesirable drug effects and related symptoms.
Pain and distress may not only lead to the additional use of medication, but also longer procedures and longer hospital stays and readmissions. An unsuccessful recovery from surgery not only adversely affects patient, but also inflates health care costs. Based on multiple research studies we see that by utilizing stress reduction techniques there is an improvement in pain reduction, less medication use, better physiological indicators, quicker recovery and treatment time, and increased emotional well-being. It would be beneficial for the patient affected by cancer to find health care providers who are at least open to his or her wishes for a comprehensive treatment approach - integrating both physical and psychological aspects of their care. One can utilize on their own, techniques that can reduce stress and anxiety.