Serious, Chronic, or Terminal Illness Counseling
Individuals who experience serious, chronic, or terminal illnesses are at increased risk for developing anxiety and depression.
Whether you are coping with a chronic illness such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, the daily struggle to manage your condition and maintain your health can seem daunting. You don’t have the physical energy that you once used to and that takes a toll on you psychologically. You are in the midst of a grieving process. After diagnosis, 40 percent of cancer patients report developing significant distress that can include serious worry, panic attacks, depression, and PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder. Also, people who have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are six times more likely to develop depression than people without these illnesses. Transplant patients, as well as chronic pain and respiratory disease patients and others with disorders that require a lifetime of coping report increased levels of depression and anxiety. The difficulty of coping with serious illness is also complicated by treatments that induce psychological symptoms such as mania, depression, insomnia, and anxiety attacks.
Here are some typical symptoms that suggest it’s time to seek treatment.
- Anticipatory anxiety attacks about treatment or future prognosis
- Avoiding necessary treatment because it provokes intolerable feelings of anxiety or sadness
- Repetitive nightmares or intrusive thoughts about diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition
- Inability to sleep due to distress about your condition
- Anxiety attacks about not properly following the treatment regimen
- Thoughts of suicide because you believe that your condition makes your life worthless or too painful to endure
- Inability to talk to others about how you feel about your condition
- Avoiding of socializing because of your condition
- Shame and self-blame about your condition
- Loss of pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- Chronic irritability