Every year, 300,000 to 600,000 Americans are diagnosed with blood clot conditions, particularly deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. More than the physical pain typically associated with these conditions, the emotional impact of after-treatment condition, post thrombotic syndrome, is what heightens and prolongs the suffering.
The Emotional Pangs of Blood Clot
Nearly half of all patients who survive deep vein thrombosis develop post thrombotic syndrome. Sadly, not all people know the answer to ‘what is post thrombotic syndrome’, and even fewer know about its emotional implications on a patient’s daily life.
Post thrombotic syndrome is the umbrella term for a complex bunch of effects – disabling pain, swelling, heaviness, cramping and aches – occurring after deep vein thrombosis treatment. Having to face these on a daily basis contributes to lower quality of life and greatly affects the patients psychologically.
Default Mood Response and Stress
Many studies have proven that anxiety, depression, and other negative emotional states affect the recovery of a person from any debilitating disease. These are a default mood response leading to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Without support from loved ones or from professionals, patients may find themselves stuck in flashbacks, become hyper-vigilant, dwell in intrusive thoughts and turn self-destructive. Some patients even try to disassociate themselves from the condition as a coping mechanism.
On the same note, people who survive the threats of the debilitating illness report improved quality of life most of the time. The quality of life refers to the general well-being in a wide range of contexts, such as health. Interestingly, one study found that patients who developed post thrombotic syndrome reported lower scores when their quality of life is measured. This places the treatments for venous diseases in spotlight as these appear to be discouraging when it is supposed to change the patients’ life for the better.
As deep vein thrombosis is considered a life-threatening illness, survivors are burdened with their new condition. In order to stop the negative psychological effects of post thrombotic syndrome, the practice needs to improve and physicians must ensure that patients do not develop the disease.