Achieving more with IBD
Hobbies and social life
Decide if you actually need to tell your friends about your IBD
Sport can increase your energy levels
You should be aware of the potential side effects of drugs and
alcohol and always read the information leaflet for medications
At any age, the diagnosis of a chronic disease changes the dynamics
between us and others.
Friendships may be affected through ill-health but new friendships
can also be made.
It can be difficult telling a new friend or even an old one about
your IBD. It might be an embarrassing and personal subject that
neither of you are entirely comfortable with. It's up to you to
decide if you actually need to tell the person - not all your
acquaintances need to know. The person should be trustworthy and
treat your disclosure in strictest confidence. Think about why the
person needs to know. Are they asking lots of questions about your
health, weight loss, etc in a supportive way, or in a 'nosey' way?
Carefully consider whether your friend is ready to hear about your
problems and how much information it is appropriate to tell them.
Being unwell may mean that you become more introverted, possibly not
so trusting of others, especially if you have not felt supported
through very difficult times. Friends should be empathetic and
understanding. Let them know it is important not to exaggerate your
condition, or overcompensate by constantly asking how you are
feeling if they are doing so. It may also be that, when you feel
'well', you want to take more risks and that you seek the extrovert
friends that help you forget you have a chronic disease.
Joining an online forum, for example 'IBD and me', or a national or
European association such as EFCCA, can be a great way to make
friends and associates with people who would not know each other
without IBD, and to discuss matters with someone who understands.
For more information on communication issues in IBD, one can refer
Living with IBD/ Communicating IBD
Finding the energy
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Lack of energy is a common problem with IBD. Try and ensure you have
a good night's sleep during flares and remissions. Some people
benefit from short naps, or 'energy recharges' during the day while
others find this interferes with their sleeping patterns at night.
Stick to whatever gives you the biggest boost of energy.
Sport can also increase your energy levels, so choosing and
participating in an appropriate sport may be beneficial. Start
gradually with light exercise like walking.
Yoga and relaxation techniques (deep breathing, meditation) may also
increase energy levels. Fresh air and walking are also similarly
For more information on this subject
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You should not be afraid to go out and enjoy yourself. Investigate
venues beforehand - call in advance and ask questions, such as the
location of toilets. 'Can't wait cards' are useful when going out
and RADAR keys enabling use of disabled toilets can also be helpful.
In some countries there are interactive phone services to locate the
Alcohol and recreational drugs
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Like anyone intending to drink alcohol or take drugs, you should
make yourself aware of the potential side effects of drugs and
alcohol, and always read the information leaflet for your
medications. There is no evidence that recreational drugs worsen
IBD, but they should be avoided because of the potential
interactions with your medications.