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Conquering chronic illness: Treating the person as well as the disease

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Melissa W.
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  1. Introduction.
  2. The difficult decision faced by the patient on diagnosis.
    1. Shock to relief: seemingly extreme reactions.
  3. The second response to being diagnosed.
    1. The traumatic news of an ailment.
    2. Children and teenagers.
    3. Commitment to each other and perseverance.
  4. Changing social environments.
    1. The social aspect of a patient's life.
    2. Tendencies to adopt a negative attitude.
    3. Focusing on the patients' past capabilities.
  5. The support system that will aid the patient.
    1. Stress.
    2. A sense of control in a realm that predominately provokes a sense of helplessness.
  6. Conclusion.

A chronic illness is an affliction in which many areas of life are affected. ?In the United States, nearly one third of the population experiences severe chronic pain at some point in life. It is currently the most common cause of long-term disability, partially or totally disabling upwards of 50 million people,?. It is naive to think that those affected by chronic pain only suffer physiologically. There are many factors to consider when a person is diagnosed with a disorder that entails long-term symptoms. Physical ailments affect the mental and emotional state, which translate into affecting loved ones' lives. Diseases are never welcomed, due to the inevitable suffering and alteration of lives. Patients experience new priorities, such as actively addressing their heath. Despite the justified excuse, the end result of the previous lifestyle still must be upheld. It is now up to the surrounding support group to fulfill the outstanding responsibilities. Disease affects many areas of life other than the patient's apparent physical health.

[...] Under proper care and supervision, affected children can usually participate in the same activities as those without illness. Teenagers experience more difficulty with gracefully accepting the alterations of life that a disease requires. ?Adolescence is a unique developmental time characterized by emerging independence, rapid cognitive and physical growth, and the development of an identity,? (http://xpedio02.childrenshc.org/stellent/groups/public/@xcp/@web/@mentalhea lth/documents/policyreferenceprocedure/web010839.asp). Adolescents' social needs grow particularly important. This priority does not coincide beautifully with the typical ?complex medical treatments? and the repetitive doctor visits (http://xpedio02.childrenshc.org/stellent/groups/public/@xcp/@web/@mentalhea lth/documents/policyreferenceprocedure/web010839.asp). [...]


[...] Support groups for individuals, other than the patient, affected by a loved ones' chronic illness can be located through the help of most major hospitals and clinics. Seeking help should not be viewed as a sign of personal weakness. The end goal of dealing with a chronic illness in the family is for everyone involved to maintain a good quality of life, despite the obstacles challenging that goal. Another area that a support group should acknowledge and target is stress. [...]


[...] Families should be wary of making the illness the new focus of the family. ?Siblings often feel overlooked when a brother's or sister's needs demand so much family (http://xpedio02.childrenshc.org/stellent/groups/public/@xcp/@web/@mentalhea lth/documents/policyreferenceprocedure/web010839.asp). The patient may realize the siblings' resentment and experience guilt, due to the many significant changes of the family members' lives. Remembering and paying personalized attention to each family member can be beneficial in maintaining a mentally healthy and positive response to the illness. Patients may feel their social environments changing due to the disease. [...]

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