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  • Writer's pictureNancy Szakascy

Coping With Mental Health During and After DRESS Syndrome

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

DRESS Syndrome is a debilitating and life-threatening condition that can last weeks, months, or even years. DRESS stands for Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms and is a severe adverse drug reaction.

a woman laying on a bed solemly and cuddling a pillow

Patients who experience DRESS become not only physically affected but also grapple with the emotional aftermath of this difficult, painful experience. Heightened anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) present psychological challenges many patients face during and after their DRESS event.

Find a Way Forward

In addition to being a Founder of the DRESS Syndrome Foundation, I’m a licensed therapist with over two decades of experience and with 12 years of experience in counseling patients in life-threatening situations. In this role, I’ve had the privilege of working with people dealing with complex dual diagnosis. From this background, I hope to bring some peace and insight to DRESS patients and loved ones who are navigating this difficult medical and mental health struggle.

If you have DRESS Syndrome and seek ways to cope with your mental health, here are some tips that may help:

Validate Your Emotions: Recognizing and validating the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing is essential. Understand that your feelings of anxiety, depression, or PTSD are valid responses to a life-altering event.

Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power. Learn about DRESS Syndrome, its physical and emotional consequences, and what to look out for. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions and regain a sense of control.

Build a Support System: Surround yourself with a network of friends and family who can offer emotional support as well as medical support should you need to get to the ER. Share what you can about what your symptoms are and lean on your support system when you need them.

Two women talking and holding hands at a cafe

Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that healing mind and body takes all of you — show up as you never have before. Embrace self-compassion as a way to navigate these challenges. We have only room to heal.

Set Realistic Goals: Recovery takes time, so make manageable steps. Set achievable goals that allow you to track your progress and celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem.

Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical and emotional wellbeing. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and hobbies you enjoy can all contribute to your overall resilience.

Advocate for Yourself: Be sure to communicate your needs to your healthcare providers. Open up to them and be as honest, clear and timely in your communication as you can. Doing so, may save your life.

a woman with her eyes closed receiving healing work from a woman behind her

In the face of DRESS Syndrome and the accompanying mental health challenges, remember that healing is possible. Your journey may be marked by ups and downs. But, with the right support and strategies, you can regain control over your life and your health.

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