Being diagnosed with a medical condition can lead to emotional distress, including symptoms of depression and anxiety about the future. Learning to cope not only with the diagnosis, but changes in your lifestyle is critical to maintaining quality of life during a difficult time. Learn more about the role of psychology within the medical community, and how psychotherapy can be incremental to maximizing your health, despite a chronic medical condition.
Individuals often seek counseling for chronic medical problems. Some people struggle with acute illness issues, while others find themselves trapped with a chronic medical condition. Whether acute or chronic, it is important that people learn to cope effectively with their various medical issues. There is often a relationship between behavior and illness. It is important to modify our reactions and our behavioral responses to cope effectively with one's individual illness experience.
For all of us, our health often dictates how active and involved we are with our hobbies, our jobs, and even our relationships. So, it makes sense that any change in our health, our mobility or our level of functioning can affect our emotional states. In addition, often times our moods can influence our health and our body’s ability to fight off infection, and even interfere with managing pain.
Multiple medical conditions have been associated with stress, such as cardiac conditions, gastrointestinal conditions, and migraines. In addition, it is recognized that a significant number of individuals experience anxiety and depression as a result of the changes in their health. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune disorders, and cardiovascular disease can require significant change in lifestyle and health. Assisting individuals to make the transition, accept their health challenges and continue to embrace their lives are common focuses of psychology services for medical patients.
During a health crisis, we are subject to feeling out of control of our bodies, and often overwhelmed by the treatment options and potential outcomes. Common topics for therapy include improving coping skills during the crisis, processing decision making about treatment options, and discussing the impact of chronic illness on not only the patient, but family systems as well.
Additional educational components for coping with chronic illness often include:
Quality of life is critical to all of us. A health crisis is often a threat to quality of life. Allowing yourself to participate in psychotherapy, focused on coping with chronic illness, often eases depression and anxiety generated by that threat, and can then reduce the impact of mood on health.
Our goal is simple, maximize your life, no matter what your health.