This module describes the psychological effects of living with rheumatoid arthritis, including reaction to diagnosis, anxiety and depression, body image, and the effects on work and family. It aims to increase understanding of the psychological implications of living with rheumatoid arthritis, and outline the nurse's role in helping patients to manage symptoms and maintain psychological wellbeing.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term inflammatory condition that can affect physical, psychological and social function. The condition is not curable - although drug therapy can be used to reduce inflammation - and patients often experience daily symptoms of joint pain and stiffness, fatigue and functional limitations. Patients may also experience psychological challenges. This learning module focuses on the psychological implications of living with rheumatoid arthritis, including reaction to diagnosis, anxiety and depression, body image, sexuality, self-esteem and social role. It aims to explore the role of the nurse in addressing these psychological challenges to optimise the physical and psychological status of each patient.