By Tom Rue
Any chronic medical condition impacts not only the quality of life of the person directly affected, but also family, loved ones, friends, and care-givers.
Upon learning of a diagnosis (like the Kübler-Ross model of grief), the patient and loved ones may respond with denial or disbelief, shame, later with anger (which, though real, can be misdirected), bargaining, depression, acceptance, and eventually to action.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and relaxation training are two treatment approaches that can help healing and survival, providing patients with stress management skills, including cognitive restructuring, coping strategies, and social support. Participants practice a variety of relaxation methods, such as progressive muscle relaxation, imagery, and meditation.
Relevant issues like sexuality, intimacy, and communication for survivors of certain types of cancer or disabling chronic pain stemming from a variety of medical conditions can be addressed individually or in couples therapy, to improve quality of relationships and of life.
Many people live long productive lives with a chronic disability, disease, or pain. Quality of life can be improved with a healthy mental outlook and making the most of one's abilities.
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- Depression in adults with a chronic physical health problem NICE Clinical Guideline 91, NHS/UK
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- Does counseling help patients get active? A systematic review Canadian Family Physician January 2002, Vol. 48.
- Heterosexual couples confronting the challenges of HIV infection AIDS Care, Vol. 11, Issue 2, April 1999, pp. 181-193.