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Choosing a hepatitis C support group depends on whether you're seeking support for the infected patient or for his family and loved ones. Hepatitis C causes inflammation of the liver due to a viral infection. This infection can be sexually transmitting or contracted via blood exchange. The patient's physician can direct him to a support group either in a hospital setting or an outpatient setting.
Living with hepatitis can be a challenge, though it can be managed quite effectively when the patient complies with his treatment plan. When joining a hepatitis C support group, the patient needs to feel comfortable discussing his condition and perhaps divulging how he contracted the condition. After getting acquainted with others in the hepatitis C support group, patients typically become more relaxed and open to communication.
Choosing which support group is right for a person generally depends on what he wants to gain out of that group. For example, if the hepatitis C patient is seeking medical information, he may choose a hepatitis C support group that offers periodic discussions by medical personnel experienced in treating the condition. If the patient is solely seeking emotional support from others in the same situation, however, discussions by medical personnel may be less relevant to him.
Maintaining anonymity may be important to some people when choosing a hepatitis C support group. If this is the case, patients may want to consider joining an online group. There, patients with hepatitis C can enjoy the benefits of the support group without giving up their privacy.
There are drawbacks, however, which may include the lack of personal interaction and face-to-face contact with members. Although an online hepatitis C support group typically offers members the ability to ask questions online, the response time may lag. An off-line support group usually allows members to get immediate answers to their questions.
Many individuals prefer joining a hepatitis C support group based on the recommendation of their health care provider. For those people, asking a physician to recommend an established support group might be the answer. Living with hepatitis can be stressful, but a welcoming support group can change a person's outlook from hopeless to hopeful. When patients are given the knowledge and resources to help them cope with their condition, they typically fare better, and are more apt to be compliant with treatment.
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