Stigma. Isolation. Hopelessness.
On top of excruciating pain, people living with gout often experience these feelings as they navigate this disease on their own. It’s important for them to know that they are not alone in their journey.
Misinformation & Mental Health
Patients often feel alone because of misinformation about gout. Many people wrongly believe that gout is the patient’s fault. And popular culture often portrays the disease as a punchline.
These misconceptions can lead to patients feeling ashamed and afraid to seek help or tell anyone about their disease. In fact, a recent study of online groups found patients discussing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Misinformation can also lead to fruitless attempts to “cure” gout using apple cider vinegar, tart cherry juice or other home remedies that have not been proven to help.
Support Groups Offer Hope
One way to help with the isolation is by joining an online support group like the Gout Support Group of America to connect with others living with the disease. Support groups allow patients to:
- Share their experience.
Gout patients are oftentimes hesitant to share their journey with family and friends because of the stigma surrounding the disease. That’s where online support group come in. These are safe, nonjudgmental places full of other people who are living with the same disease.
- Connect with others.
Knowing that others are going through the same thing can be empowering. Support groups give patients the opportunity to connect with others and give them hope while freeing them from the stigma they may face from family, friends or their jobs.
- Learn from others
Questions about gout? While patients should only take medical advice from a doctor, an online support group is a great way to ask others about their experience. Whether it be asking about rheumatologist recommendations or uric acid testing kits, patients in these groups are always eager to share their experience to help others.
There are over 9 million other Americans are living with this painful condition. By finding a supportive community and visiting a doctor, patients can successfully manage their gout and reclaim their quality of life.