Research Update: Anxiety and Depression Reduction Technique for IUI
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a common fertility treatment as it is less invasive and more cost-effective when compared to IVF. The process of preparing and undergoing an IUI has been associated with significant increases in rates of anxiety, depression, and stress. The elevated level of psychosocial stress when preparing for an IUI has been attributed to decreased intimacy in relationships, lowered self-esteem, fear, and increased feelings of helplessness.
When preparing for an IUI, supporting our mental health is just as important as supporting our physical health. A new research paper evaluated the use of training in "Problem-Solving Skills (PSS)" to help manage the anxiety and feelings of depression that can come during fertility treatment preparation.
Problem-Solving Skills: are defined as a coping strategy to help develop more adaptive responses towards feelings and situations of high-stress and anxiety.
The increase in rates of anxiety and depression associated with IUI is believed to be a result of maladaptive and ineffective coping strategies when faced with high levels of stress, that ultimately leads to an increase in emotional turmoil. The learning of Problem-Solving Skills as an coping strategy helps to promote a more positive attitude towards problems and focuses on implementing logical steps to help address and treat the issue.
With a 3-day training in developing improve problem-solving skills for fertility patients undergoing IUI, the study observed a significant decrease in feelings of depression, state anxiety (transient response to high-stress situations), and trait anxiety (tendency to respond with anxiety to high-stress situations). In contrast, the group of patients that did not undergo training in PSS were observed to have an increase in their state anxiety.
The researchers had concluded that the training of PSS in fertility patients preparing for IUI may be helpful to help mitigate the high levels of stress and incidence of anxiety and depression. Considering that it is non-invasive and relatively cost-effective, this may be a good treatment option for many patients, even though IUI success rates were not observed to change with PSS training when compared to those who did not receive the training.