Psychosocial Issues in Sickle Cell Disease: A Review
Sickle cell anaemia (SCA) is a severe sickle cell disease primarily affecting black populations and individuals in tropical countries. This condition causes significant morbidity and mortality and leads to various psychosocial challenges. Using a narrative review approach, this paper analysed 80 peer-reviewed articles published between 1989 and 2023 to understand these challenges comprehensively. Mental disorders, sleep disturbances, interpersonal relationship challenges, stigmatisation, and workplace discrimination significantly contributed to the psychosocial distress experienced by individuals with SCA and their families. Depression and anxiety were prevalent among individuals with SCA, leading to poor treatment adherence, increased pain, and disruptions in various aspects of life. Sleep disturbances, including sleep-disordered breathing and sleepwalking, were also significant contributors to poor sleep quality in SCA patients. Families of individuals with SCA also face challenges, including psychological stress, financial strain, and social disruption. Stigmatisation is common, leading to misconceptions and discrimination. Workplace discrimination is prevalent, with a high unemployment rate among adult SCA patients. Comprehensive care is crucial to address these psychosocial issues. Early identification and intervention, comprehensive support programs, patient and family education, enhanced pain management strategies, and integration of mental health into clinical care are recommended. School-based support, research and advocacy, and community support groups are also necessary. By addressing these challenges through comprehensive care and support, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and society can reduce psychosocial distress and improve the lives of individuals with Sickle cell anaemia.