Discussions around the negative health impacts of asbestos exposure usually begin and end with discussions about the negative effects on an individual's physical health.
Obviously the physical symptoms and extreme pain associated with conditions like mesothelioma shouldn’t be downplayed, but by only focusing on these physical symptoms we exclude the emotional and mental struggles of those diagnosed with asbestos related diseases.
Currently, not a lot of research has been done on the mental and emotional strain experienced by those suffering from the physical affects of asbestos exposure. To help amend this and provide some ideas for new research, a literature review of exisiting research was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Below is a brief overview of some of the important points from the literature review:
Even just being exposed to asbestos can bring mental anguish: Just knowing you have been exposed to asbestos, and therefore could have asbestos fibres in your body, causes mental distress. This distress can take the form of depression, anxiety and anger.
Mesothelioma causes significant mental and emotional distress: Not surprisingly, all existing research indicates that living with mesothelioma is extremely stressful. This stress starts at diagnosis, with studies documenting stress reactions such as shock, anxiety, depression and anger.
Something that can help to alleviate this stress is having access to medical health professionals with strong communication skills and experience treating mesothelioma patients.
More research needs to be done: The biggest take home from the literature review was just how little research has been done on the topic. Indeed, the take home from all of this is how much more research work needs to be done to look after those suffering from the devastating effects of asbestos exposure.