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Emotional Health

Dealing With Pre Surgery Anxiety

The Importance of a Support System

Preparing for surgery or a procedure can trigger a lot of emotions. Allison Kranich, MS, LCPC, CAADC, a licensed clinical professional counselor at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, shares some ways to prepare yourself.

Pre-Surgery Jitters

Although everyone handles their emotions differently, preparing for surgery or a procedure can trigger anxiety. “The most important thing is to look at how you handle emotions in general,” says Kranich. “If you have difficultly handling changes in life, this time may be more difficult and challenging for you. Awareness of your emotions can lead to improved healing.”

In the appointments leading up to your surgery, be sure to ask questions and work with your support system to put a plan in place. Having answers can ease your mind and decrease anxiety. Kranich encourages you to ask:

  • What am I feeling? Am I worried? Identifying emotions is the first step to understanding and overcoming them.
  • What limitations will I have? What are my experiences managing pain in the past? Talking to your provider about these issues can help alleviate your concerns and allow you to be prepared. These realistic expectations helps reduce anxiety.
  • What kind of support do I have lined up? Who will help me? Knowing that you’ll have support and someone you can depend on can eliminate some anxiety.

The Impact of Your Emotions

Research has shown that anxiety and depression can impact the body’s healing process. To better manage those emotions, be transparent with your care team about how you are feeling and if additional support is necessary.

“The best thing you can do is communicate your concerns and express in words how you’re feeling,” says Kranich. “As soon as you start to internalize your feelings, they can grow and become more difficult to manage.”

If you have additional treatments or are overwhelmed by what’s to come, it’s OK to take it one step at a time. “You don’t need to have all the answers. You just need to know who to express your concerns to,” says Kranich.

Building a strong support team can help guide you on that journey.

Learn other ways to calm your mind.

Behavioral Health Services