Emotional Side Effects of Living with a Chronic Disease

Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness can be a devastating ordeal. From numerous doctors’ visits and learning about available treatment options, to adjusting your personal life and work schedule while maintaining your healthcare can be draining to say the least.

Having a chronic illness can be unbearable physically and can also lead to psychiatric side effects. Focusing daily on your ongoing condition can lead to experiencing feelings of despair. A recent study found that 1 in 10 suicides were linked to chronic illness. Living with a chronic illness can leave one feeling alone and hopeless, but one must always remember that there is always more life to live and that some conditions are manageable, even if there is not a cure available.

Although some conditions have no cure, there are treatments available to alleviate symptoms for certain conditions, allowing a patient to experience the highest quality of life possible. For example, lymphedema. Lymphedema is a chronic condition that often manifests as an abnormal buildup of fluid, most commonly in the arms and legs. In the past, conservative measures such as massage, compression garments and wrapping were the only ways to maintain this condition. Now, there are surgeries offered by the surgeons at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction which aim to improve drainage of the affected limb. These surgical treatment options can restore quality of life for an individual, allowing them to live their lives as independently and as comfortable as possible.

One of the best ways to cope with a chronic illness is by joining a support group. These can be in person or over the internet, and they serve by connecting people facing similar illnesses from all over the country and the world. Having someone to talk to who understands first-hand what you are feeling and dealing with, can provide an unmeasurable amount of support and guidance in your medical journey.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or you think is at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a 24-hour toll-free confidential hotline. This hotline has helped more than 6 million since its inception in 2005, routing calls within its network of more than 160 crisis centers. The Lifeline’s website  has important information about how to help people in crisis.

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