Coping with a long-term or chronic illness has as much of a psychological impact as it does a physical one. Indeed, this aspect is often overlooked when a treatment plan is formulated. However, both patient and medical staff should acknowledge that mental preparation can help the person to cope with the symptoms of their illness and the impact it has on their life

Long-term conditions are defined on the Department of Health website as “those conditions that cannot, at present, be cured, but can be controlled by medication and other therapies. The life of a person with a long-term condition is forever altered – there is no return to ‘normal’.” Having a long-term or incurable condition can limit the sufferer's ability to work, lead to social isolation, and depression over the changes they are facing to their lives.

When first diagnosed with a serious health problem, the patient can react by going into denial. They may feel as though acknowledging their condition makes it all too real, and try to ignore it. However, ignoring the situation won't make it go away, and can even make symptoms worse if your lifestyle is incompatible with your illness. It's important to accept that the problem exists. By acknowledging the reality of your illness, you can start to come to terms with it and begin to find ways of managing it.

Long health conditions are health conditions that last a year or longer and may require on-going care and support and can include:

  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Cardiac condition
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Respiratory condition

A long term condition may affect the quality of your life in a number of ways such as:

  • affecting sleep patterns
  • causing depression
  • the ability to work
  • being more dependent on others
  • accessing support and appropriate information
  • influencing mobility
  • how you see yourself e.g. body image
  • feeling socially isolated

Through using psychological therapy as part of your wellbeing strategy, we can work towards implementing a self-management programme to help you live with your condition.

At Health Psychology Clinic we can help you manage your long term condition by working with you to:

  • motivate you to improve your quality of life
  • set realistic goals
  • limit psychological distress
  • become more informed about your condition in order to cope better
  • maintain positive results

If you would like to talk to someone about therapy and treatments for coping with an illnessplease get in touch with us at the Health Psychology Clinic by telephone at 020 8144 3041 or book online by clicking below.

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