Managing Anger with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ways RA Causes Anger and How to Cope

Managing Anger with Rheumatoid ArthritisLiving with rheumatoid arthritis, especially if you were diagnosed as a younger person, can be extremely difficult. Many times those with the condition develop a lot of anger, which can lead to depression. Since stress plays a major role in the progression of symptoms and bringing on flares, this can ultimately make your symptoms worse.

Anger at Limitations

Anger simply for having RA is pretty common, especially when the condition means you’re missing out on things you used to do.

For example, before I was diagnosed with lupus (which is not the same as RA, but if you look at lupus vs RA you’ll find similarities) I loved to dance, sing and act. Because of the fatigue and pain lupus causes, I can no longer make the commitment needed to even do amateur theater anymore, taking away a huge part of my life and one of my favorite things to do.

Stories like mine are extremely common, as are the stories of missing out on family time, milestones with children, and even things like furthering education or being able to hold down a full-time job. Many people’s social lives are negatively impacted, and they may feel increasingly depressed and isolated.

Anger at Family Members or Friends

This is especially tough, but a very real issue that many RA patients face. Family members and friends can be cruel or unsupportive, especially if they are confused about what RA is and how it affects you.


Family members and friends may go so far as to accuse you of exaggerating or faking your symptoms for attention or to get out of social or work obligations. However, this is more than likely not the case and can lead to lots of anger and resentment on both sides.

It’s best to sit down and talk out your feelings with the person in question and try to get them to understand what it is you go through everyday. Bringing home pamphlets or books about your condition or suggesting websites to visit is a great way to promote understanding.

If they still have trouble and they are particularly close to you, speak to them about accompanying you to a doctor’s visit to witness exactly what it is you’re going through and encourage them to ask the doctor any questions they may have.

If they are still unable to offer you support, unfortunately it may be time to let them go. It can be a very difficult decision to make, but ultimately it is a great risk to your health to stress yourself out trying to please someone who just doesn’t –or refuses to – get it.

Next page: ways to cope.

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