It’s completely normal to have anxiety before surgery. Many patients worry about the unknown, the recovery process and their pain level. It’s important to not allow your anxiety to become severe and to negatively affect your health. There are plenty of ways that you can cope with your anxiety before surgery.
Communicate with your physician
You should develop a working relationship with your physician and their team. It’s important to place your trust in them, which helps to alleviate your anxiety. Your surgeon should provide you with information on what to expect during and after surgery. They should also provide you with a list and/or recommendation of what to do to prepare for surgery.
Moreover, do your research and educate yourself about your surgery or condition. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your physician. However, be cautious. Too much research, such as a list of what can go wrong, can raise your stress level. You should only research generalized information about your surgery from a trusted healthcare resource, such as Ochsner.org.
Make a to-do list of what needs to be done before surgery and accomplish those tasks on your list. If needed, pack a hospital bag. Pack healthy snacks, toiletries and clothes. Also, make sure your home is in order for after surgery. This may ease your mind to know that your recovery process from hospital to home will be smooth.
If you are a smoker, it is recommended to not smoke before surgery. Smoking can be a stress reliever for many people. However, smoking can increase your risk of complications after surgery.
Seek professional help
Most hospitals offer counselors, therapists and social workers for patients. If your anxiety is disrupting your life, tell your physician, and they can recommend the right professional support for you. Your professional support will depend on the source of your anxiety, such as fear of anesthesia. Your physician should want your experience to be as pleasant as possible.
Moreover, if necessary, join a support group. Ochsner offers plenty of support groups focused on different specialties. Click here for a support group calendar.
Yoga and meditation can be helpful in easing your anxiety. However, there is no scientific proof that it can relieve your stress before surgery. At Ochsner, we offer alternative therapies for our patients, such as yoga.
Click here to learn more about our most skilled and experienced medical professionals in surgery.