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Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Support groups have been formed for people living with chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. There is sufficient evidence that arthritis support groups can provide multiple benefits including:-

  • Provide better coping skills by providing tips and practical advice
  • Provide solidarity and self confidence
  • Improve mood
  • Decrease pain
  • Provide relief from negative emotions, such as resentment, fear and hopelessness

Types of support group

There are several types of support groups available. While some are closed and unavailable to the public without preregistration, others are online chat sites and are open to all.

Some support groups are peer that are led by a fellow patient who focuses on sharing experiences, and learning from others’ experiences. Some support groups are educational and they focus on an expert’s presentation with questions from sufferers that are answered by the expert in the field.

How to choose a support group?

Some things to consider while joining a group include group size and changing needs. While a large group means more experiences, a smaller group may be more intimate and friendly. With age the needs for emotional and moral support change and the support group that is chosen needs to cater to these needs to be effective.

How to find support groups

To look for support groups one may go about in two ways. For online support, blogs, forums and social networking sites may be searched and for live groups the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation may be sought for classes and support groups. Physicians and rheumatologists may also help patients choose their support groups.

Support groups in the UK

Some of the support groups suggested by National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) for United Kingdom include:

North of England

London & South East

East of England

South West England

East & West Midlands

Scotland

Support groups in the USA

Support and information in United States of America may be found at:

Support groups in Australia

Some of the support groups in Australia include:

Support groups in Canada

Some of the support groups in Australia include:

Reviewed by , BA Hons (Cantab)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2013

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