How to Support a Loved One with Newly Diagnosed IBD

by: Mara Shapiro

When someone gets diagnosed with IBD, it affects their loved ones as well. Whether it is your parent, child, sibling, significant other, or best friend that was just diagnosed with IBD, you may be wondering how you can best support them as they learn to cope and thrive with this new disease.

Educate Yourself

Take some time to learn about IBD and how the disease could affect your loved one. You can ask your loved one’s doctor to recommend some educational and support resources. You can also explore trusted sources like the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

You may want to take time on your own to read information about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis or this can be an activity that you do alongside your loved one.

Taking the initiative to educate yourself about their disease will help let your loved one know that you are on this journey with them.

Listen, Acknowledge, and Validate

There will likely be a flurry of emotions following a new diagnosis of IBD. Some adjustments to life may be needed, and all this change can feel overwhelming. Acceptance is not something that happens overnight and the process of reaching disease acceptance can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster.

Being understanding of the wide range of emotions your loved one is feeling as they begin to adapt to their IBD diagnosis will go a long way. It may be helpful to do a lot of listening if your loved one is expressing their feelings. It may be difficult to hear what they have to say because you won’t necessarily be able to immediately fix their challenges. In those moments, acknowledging their struggle while validating their emotions can help show how much you love and care about them.

Offer Support

One of the biggest questions you may be asking yourself is “what can I do to help them?” and this question can best be answered by asking your loved one what type of support they would like. Everyone is different and while some people may want assistance with meals and chores, others may prefer emotional support over physical support.

You can offer to attend doctor's appointments with your loved one. Especially in the beginning, doctor's appointments can feel overwhelming because of all the new information being exchanged. Having a trusted second set of ears can mean a lot.

The best way you can support your loved one through this new diagnosis is by letting them know that you are there for them in whatever they need. If your loved one is not someone who typically asks for help, it will be helpful to start an open dialogue around ways you can physically and emotionally support them with their IBD.

This Won’t Last Forever

While IBD itself is a chronic, life-long condition, the initial state of shock, fear, and stress surrounding the new diagnosis won’t last forever.

Trellus Health is here for your loved one at every step in their IBD journey by helping them build resilience to handle whatever challenges come their way.

Resilience for IBD is Resilience for Life™!

Connect with one of our advocacy partners below to learn more about supporting your loved one through their IBD diagnosis

Connecting to Cure Crohn’s and Colitis – offers monthly caregiver support groups

Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adult Network – support for young adults and siblings of young adults with IBD

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation – the national center for IBD support and resources

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All