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I’m new here. I’ve struggled with significant depression and health anxiety since is was diagnosed with Nash F3 and basically told I’d eventually need a transplant even if I lost weight. The doctor told me I had about 10 yrs and then “I really needed to start worrying “; he wasn’t very compassionate at all. I also have ptsd. I work extensively with a therapist and psychiatrist. It’s been almost 10 years and the worry about this is escalating. I’ve lost a ton of weight, eat healthy and exercise as able because I have other physical problems that affect my ability to exercise as much as I used to. Exercise is one of the best coping strategies I use so I hope my current health issue resolves so I can get in good work outs again. I work daily to strengthen coping mechanisms but I still need anxiety and sleep meds as I otherwise have nightmares and horrific night terrors. I take clonazepam and ambien. My goal is to reduce my need for these meds. My question is, did anyone experience mental illness as a barrier to getting approval? Once transplanted, do they allow you to take anxiety/ sleep meds as living with a transplant is very challenging. Any advice is appreciated.

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Replies to "I’m new here. I’ve struggled with significant depression and health anxiety since is was diagnosed with..."

Because a transplant can be a very challenging situation the pre-transplant evaluation includes a psych eval to ensure that you are up to the challenge mentally, emotionally, physically …..etc. Your support system is usually evaluated too. There are so many factors that go into a successful transplant, the team wants to take everything into consideration to prepare for the best possible outcome. They should evaluate your situation to decide if transplant is in your best interest and to determine what preparation is needed to make it so.

Yes, my transplant center ok'd anxiety and depression meds but I had to clear each one with them. Yes, having a transplant is very challenging for me. I do not hear much about patients like me having bouts of anxiety and depression and need hospitalization or just meds. But it is real and I am still having changes to doses of meds after 4-5 months of taking them. I am grateful for my kidney and recovery is a challenge in many ways. I face these living alone but my church community is helpful. Take care, BB

Hello Friend,
I understand your concerns. I remember, when I was screening for a kidney transplant, feeling like I had to prove I was healthy, physically and mentally, right at the time I felt my weakest on all fronts. I was diagnosed with PKD, 20 years before kidney failure, and am familiar with the anxiety of anticipating an organ transplant, decades before it happens. I was given a live transplant 3 and 1/2 years ago, and feel soooo much better:)

I am glad to hear you are exercising, eating healthy, and at a healthier weight. This indicates you are willing to take care of your gift of life - before and after transplant. And yes, exercise is a great coping strategy, as it allows you to take active steps of self-care, when dealing with a disease, over which you have little control. I found yoga and meditation helpful.

I have not taken clonazepam for anxiety, but I have taken ambien for most of my adulthood, and I have continued taking it after my kidney transplant. You will not be allowed to take it, while you're on post-surgery pain meds, because that can be lethal. However, the pain meds keep you pretty relaxed and I took them for less than a week. I receive my ambien prescription from my general practitioner, not my post-transplant doctor. However, all doctors know what I take. Ambien is metabolized by the liver, not the kidney, if that is helpful.

I believe the psychiatric evaluation, is basically screening to insure you are someone that will take care of someone's gift of an organ. Are you mentally capable of taking the correct meds, at the correct times? Are you faithful about self-care? Would you do anything to jeopardize your transplant, due to depression or despair? Each transplant facility is concerned about successful long-term transplants, as they are judged by their statistics. They need to keep their numbers up, which means there is a bit of self-marketing on the part of patients. You need to let them know, you will be one of their successful transplants:) And it sounds like the healthy life-style changes you have made, and maintained, are a great indicator of your commitment to health. I would lead with that, and keep language to anxiety issues, as opposed to mental illness.