Chronic Illness


Chronic Illness

A chronic illness is an illness that either has no cure or will last for a long time. Living with a chronic illness means having to adjust to the symptoms of the illness and the therapies used to treat the condition. Depending on the severity and pervasiveness of the symptoms, living with a chronic illness might also mean adjusting to the way you live your life and the way you interact with others.

What Is Chronic Illness?

Examples of chronic illnesses are:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Adjusting To A Chronic Illness

Coming to terms with a chronic illness diagnosis and having to consider its long-term impact can be scary and overwhelming. Having to make changes to your lifestyle to manage symptoms can also be frustrating and depressing, especially when the recommended changes conflict with your current lifestyle.  Each illness is different, but most people find it hard to adjust to:

  • Being limited by fatigue or pain
  • Needing to depend on others for help
  • Feeling or looking different
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Reactions of family and friends
  • Restrictions on everyday activities
  • A new medication regime

Adjusting to the changes that accompany a chronic illness can trigger anxiety and depression, or other emotional reactions like anger or grief. If you are having difficulty adjusting to your chronic illness diagnosis it might be worthwhile seeking advice from a clinical psychologist. A clinical psychologist can help you adjust to your diagnosis and provide you with strategies for managing the problems that accompany (and exacerbate) chronic illnesses.