Whether it is diabetes, fatigue or a heart condition, chronic illness is a difficult daily struggle. In addition to the regular day to day stressors that everyone faces, individuals with a chronic illness must cope with the constant uncertainty of their health status. It is a misconception that chronic illness only require physical medical care as the longtime wear of these diseases can lead to exhaustion, anger or depression. These individuals may seek out the help of a Thousand Oaks chronic illness psychologist to learn how to deal with the problems that come with long term medical conditions.
The initial diagnosis of a chronic illness can bring a rush of emotions including denial, hopelessness and fear. Even when these immediate feelings have passed, many individuals continue to experience negative emotions relating to the way the illness affects their energy levels, relationships, personal appearance or daily activities. Combined with the physical effects of the illness or even the treatment, these emotions can be overwhelming and lead a person to feel unable to function in her daily life. At this point, a therapeutic relationship with a chronic illness psychologist in Thousand Oaks can be a source of support and strength for the individual.
A chronic illness psychologist works to help clients learn new coping skills that will empower them to process uncomfortable emotions and succeed in their day to day activities. Some individuals may need to learn relaxation exercises that can help them to relieve extreme anxiety or to alleviate the experience of painful physical symptoms. Others may need guidance in processing the uncertainty or anger they feel as a result of their condition. Changes in energy levels or personal appearance can also be addressed during sessions with a chronic illness psychologist. Together, the therapist and client can discover a path toward peace and emotional healing.
A child with a chronic illness faces a unique set of challenges. Because children may not have a full understanding of their condition, they may be extremely frightened about symptoms and treatment. They may experience anger towards parents or caregivers who they see as subjecting them to painful treatments. Furthermore, a child whose life is frequently interrupted due to hospital stays lacks the consistency that is needed for healthy development. A psychologist can work with children and their families to build communication skills and strategies to keep relationships strong during turmoil and uncertainty. She may also be able to recommend other resources such as support groups that are available for families dealing with chronic illness in Thousand Oaks.
Despite the significant challenges that come with a chronic illness, individuals can learn to lead productive and satisfying lives. Working with a chronic illness psychologist can help them learn how to navigate relationships, take care of themselves and continue engaging in normal activities and routines. The counseling process can remind someone who is suffering from a chronic condition that life remains valuable and can empower him to make decisions that will greatly improve the quality of daily living.
The rate of depression amongst those with medical conditions is significant. Some estimates range as high as 25 to 50 percent. By comparison, the rate of depression is about 5 percent in an otherwise healthy adult population. Depressed feelings can be a common response to any prolonged illness. However, physicians are often looking to treat the disease, and may not recognize the signs of depression when they are co-existing with a medical illness. In approximately half of the cases; clinical depression is overlooked when treating the medical illness. Proper diagnosis and treatment can not only improve one’s mood but one’s physical health as well.
Did you know?
1. Failure to recognize and treat co-occurring depression may result in further impairment and failure to improve with the medical disorder
2. The benefits of treating co-occurring depression include enhanced quality of life, improved medical status, a reduction in the degree of pain and disability, and improved treatment compliance and cooperation
3. Suffering a loss of good health places one at risk for further physical or emotional compromise
4. The same neurotransmitters that are affected by chronic pain are also implicated in depression
5. The presence of a strong support system significantly impacts one’s ability to adapt and cope to loss of health
6. The stressors present just prior to the onset of illness (marital problems, job loss, move, etc.) are a factor in how one copes with their loss of health
7. Personality plays a factor in coping with stressful life events such as the occurrence of a chronic or disabling health condition