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Preparing for Hepatitis C Treatment’s Side Effects

I know a lot of you are starting hepatitis C treatment. This week’s excerpt from Hepatitis C Treatment One Step at a Time – Inspiration and Practical Tips for Successful Treatment is dedicated to all of you with a special mention to MJ – Wishing you an easy, successful treatment and many Daytona Bike Weeks ahead.

 If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. —Dolly Parton

In order to reach your goal, be prepared to deal with side effects. Some of the most common include fatigue, weakness, headaches, body aches, irritability, insomnia, and depression. Skin problems, such as dryness, itching, and rash frequently occur. So do gastrointestinal complaints, such as nausea, diarrhea, and taste changes. Anemia along with the reduction of platelets and white blood cells are also common.

The question is not if you will have side effects; the question is which ones you will have, how often, how severe, and how you will manage them. Early and aggressive management is a good strategy because it is easier to deal with small problems than to wait for them to become big ones. For instance, a rash in its early stages is much easier to control than one that is so severe that treatment drugs must be stopped.

Throughout the book, I frequently discuss psychiatric problems, especially depression, anxiety, and mania. These side effects are quite common, and usually respond well to medical management. I mention the use of antidepressant medications so often that it may appear that I am pushing their use. Not at all. As a person who only takes medication when absolutely necessary, I too am reluctant to take more pills to combat the side effects of pills. However, psychiatric side effects are the result of chemical changes, which usually respond well to medication. Support, humor, a positive attitude, and the inspiration in this book will provide relief, but they may not be enough if your brain isn’t making enough “feel good” chemicals.

Try to keep an open mind about antidepressants, something that I failed to do during my second treatment. I waited far too long, and could have been spared months of low energy because I didn’t want to take any more pills. Thoughts of hurting yourself or others may indicate an extreme form of depression and always needs immediate medical attention.

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