Anxiety during Surgical procedure

Anxiety refers to feelings of worry, nervousness, apprehension, or fear commonly experienced by people when faced with something they view as challenging

Anxiety before surgery is common and to recognise a patient who is anxious is important in managing of same. Common symptoms seen in anxious patient are:

  • Nausea or dizziness.
  • Frequent need to urinate.
  • Diarrhea (not caused by illness).
  • Trembling
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Muscle tension

Certain emotional symptoms experienced:

  • Feelings of dread
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tense and jittery
  • Anticipating the worst outcome.
  • Over-alertness for signs of danger.
  • Feelings of apprehension.
  • Feeling as if your mind has gone blank.

Anxiety can be due to various causes

  • Environmental causes
    • Death of a loved one.
    • Physical or emotional abuse.
    • Any kind of stress.
    • Natural disaster.
  • Substance abuse- illegal drug usage have a major effect on anxiety. Illicit cocaine and amphetamines over long periods can cause anxiety in patients.
  • Genetics: there is sometime a strong genetical influence in anxiety conditions. d) Medical factors: any serious medical problems/illness, certain medications can also cause anxiety.

A pre-operative assessment of every person prior to surgery is done and if found highly anxious, the doctors prescribe certain medications to relax you. They are usually prescribed on the night just before surgery, so you could have sound sleep. Few of the medications commonly used are a serotonin reuptakers, benzodiazepams, sometimes antihypertensives and anticonvulsants are also prescribed.

A calm and composed doctor who is clear in his treatment protocols gives the confidence in the patient and reduces his anxiety to a great extent. Pre-operational treatment other than medications can include:

  • Preoperative patient touring and guiding.
  • Accurate and thorough information about the operation.
  • Permitting family member to be present prior to operation.
  • Nurse patient relationship.
  • A pre op visit by the anesthetist and the surgeon.

Certain therapies other than allopathic medication help ease anxiety.

  • Relaxation therapy- music is a best soothing medicine for the brain and patients are given relaxation therapies prior to surgery.
  • Natural anxiety relief therapy: natural/herbal medications are also used for anxiety control. But their side effects are to be noted and to be used under right prescription of doctor.
  • Acupuncture- usually acupuncture behind your ears (auricular acupuncture) are used for treating anxiety.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy- are also used to cure anxiety.

Knowing about your mental status is good and the next step comes in curing it. Certain tips:

  • Lifestyle changes- Eat right and exercise.
  • Use relaxation exercises.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Don’t take on more than you can handle.
  • Change your attitude to a positive one.
  • Have asocial and family network- family and friends keep you relaxed.
  • Lastly, never forget to laugh!! Even if it is for no reason…!

Last updated on 11 December, 2018.

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