Having a liver transplant is a major life event and research shows that such a substantial physical and emotional change can put you under considerable stress. It is therefore common to experience a whole range of emotions and some people will experience psychological problems following their transplant. This is particularly likely for people without good support from family and friends, those who have had problems like depression before transplant and those with substance use disorders.
However, there are studies that show that people who receive a liver transplant also receive psychological benefits. Many people who have problems before transplant, including memory impairment, slow reactions, anxiety and depression that are common in end-stage liver disease, find that the transplant helps these considerably.
It is important to be realistic about life with your new liver and be patient with yourself. Years of living with a serious liver problem, the uncertainty about receiving a transplant and the major physical and emotional toll of the operation itself can take a toll on liver patients and their families. The transplant will not be able to address all these problems and we recommend setting achievable goals and having reasonable expectations of how the transplant can help you live life to the full.
There are many factors you can manage with the support of your family and transplant team. Staying healthy, eating well, attending clinic, taking exercise, getting enough sleep, taking your medicines and raising concerns promptly with the medical team are all important.
Managing your stress levels and keeping a positive attitude are key to maintaining your emotional as well as physical health.