Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Is Anxiety A Chronic Illness

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Facing A Future Of Illness


Finding support can be crucial to coping with a diagnosis of chronic illness. Support groups for many conditions meet across the country or communicate online. But support from family and friends is also vital for maintaining a positive outlook, although many newly-diagnosed individuals may struggle with sharing the news for fear of changing or losing valued relationships, or because of worries about being judged. Some people with chronic conditions may feel fine most of the time, but have episodes of illness or fatigue, or they may have to take breaks or put limits on plans because of the demands of self-care. Still, experts suggest that patients be open with loved ones, including about their need for emotional and hands-on support . Many patients underestimate how much support friends and family members will be willing or able to offer. It’s also important to establish clear boundaries if there are aspects of one’s condition that one is uncomfortable discussing.

Anxious When Leaving The House Alongside Physical Symptoms

In my experience, the unpleasant and relentless symptoms are difficult enough to live with and manage inside the safety of home. Symptoms can often be unpredictable and severe with nothing to do but to endure them. But symptoms can be much more challenging to control or predict when outside the house with all the outside worlds distractions. And as such, anxiety can often rear its head when needing to venture out into the outside world. The fear that the symptoms will suddenly appear ruining plans and our fun. Or when they do occur, we will be unable to manage or control them, thus leaving them to become out of control.

there can be constant anxiety of suffering a fallDaria ShevtsovaPexels

The most severe symptom that I have to contend with is the weakness and trembling in my legs.

Such symptoms can result in them giving way, without warning and leaving me lying in a heap on the floor. Such occurrences can be frightening even when at home. Leaving the house can be daunting. Images of my legs suddenly collapsing, leaving me lying in the middle of a road flash through my mind, or falling over and not being able to get back up. Flashbacks of the times such incidents have also haunted my thoughts, leaving a heavy pit of worry deep in the bottom my stomach

Anxious because I am unable to trust my own body

What Are The Symptoms Of Gad

If you have GAD, you likely know that your anxiety is more intense than the situation calls for, but still you can’t stop these unfounded concerns. While each person may experience symptoms differently, the following are the most common symptoms:

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Trembling
  • Being easily startled
  • Unable to relax

The symptoms of GAD may look like other mental health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

GAD begins gradually, usually in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood, too. It is more common in women. It often runs in families.

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How Do Young People Manage Chronic Illness

Chronic illness poses particular challenges for young people. Others may not believe that they could possibly have a chronic condition because of their age or appearance. They may fixate on worries about being able to successfully complete their education, or to find a romantic partner, or having to endure watching others take part in activities they cannot. Becoming fully informed about their capabilities, and drawing on therapy and expert information, can help young people think out of the box and plan for their futures.

How Do People With Rare Conditions Find Support

15 Obvious Signs That You Are Exposed To Chronic Stress ...

Because of the limited public awareness of these conditions those who live with them find their symptoms are often misunderstood or disbelieved by others. Since few people with the same condition tend to live in the same communities, support groups must be found online, although many people with rare conditions attend regional or national conferences as well. Research finds that those who do provide support to people with rare conditions, however, derive significant personal meaning and satisfaction from their efforts.

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Depression And Anxiety In Patients With Different Rare Chronic Diseases: A Cross

  • Roles Funding acquisition, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Writing review & editing

    Affiliation Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

  • Roles Funding acquisition, Writing review & editing

    Affiliation Department of Medical Psychology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

  • Christoph Schramm,

    Roles Resources, Writing review & editing

    Affiliations 1st Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, Martin Zeitz Center for Rare Diseases, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

  • Christina Weiler-Normann,

    Roles Resources, Writing review & editing

    Affiliations 1st Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, Martin Zeitz Center for Rare Diseases, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

  • Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Supervision, Writing original draft, Writing review & editing

    Affiliation Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

Are You Suffering From Anxiety

Take our 2-minute anxiety quiz to see if you may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.

Find a good prescriber. If you take medication for both mental and for physical health, its important to that your doctors are aware of all your medications. Some medications may actually escalate anxiety, so its essential to work with a prescriber who can make informed choices that address both conditions without worsening either.

Find a support group. Managing a chronic illness can be a lonely job as it may be difficult for loved ones to understand the unique challenges. Support groups are wonderful for creating community but also for providing information that can help reduce worry. They can also connect you to valuable resources for treating your illness. Check with your local hospital or community center to find a local group. You can also search the Internet for online support.

Recruit the right team. Patients benefit the most when chronic illness and psychological distress, such as anxiety, are treated with a team of people who communicate regularly. Doctors, pain specialists, psychiatrists, counselors, occupational therapists, and physical therapists are among those who can help you create and implement a treatment plan for your physical and mental health.

If you think that you might have anxiety in addition to chronic illness, be honest with your doctor. Ask for help. Anxiety is highly treatable, so never lose hope.

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Descriptive Analysis And Mean Difference

In the total sample of adolescents, 48.3% presented low self-esteem. In the subsample of healthy adolescents, 46.4% showed low self-esteem and 52.3% in the subsample of adolescents with CD. Differences in self-esteem were found between healthy people and CD , with lower levels of self-esteem shown by adolescents with CD.

Related to the problems with peers variable: in the total sample, 12.5% showed borderline scores in problems with peers, and 3.3% abnormal ones in the subsample of healthy adolescents, 11.6% showed borderline scores and 2.9% abnormal ones in the subsample of adolescents with CD, 14.4% showed borderline scores and 4.2% abnormal ones. However, no significant differences were found between healthy and CD adolescents .

Meanwhile, in emotional competencies, the mean scores were found to be close to 4.5 in all competencies and in the two-subsample types, indicating moderate scores. No significant differences were found between the two groups in any emotional competence: emotional perception , emotional expression and emotional regulation .

Regarding anxiety: 57.9% of the total sample showed anxious symptoms and 27.8% of these presented an anxiety disorder requiring psychological treatment in the subsample of healthy adolescents, 52.4% showed anxious symptoms in the sample of adolescents with CD, 69.2% showed anxious symptoms .

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Dealing with the Stress of Chronic Illness

If you tend to worry a lot, even when there’s no reason, you may have generalized anxiety disorder . GAD means that you are worrying constantly and can’t control the worrying. Healthcare providers diagnose GAD when your worrying happens on most days and for at least 6 months.

Worrying may be something you are so used to, you may think it’s just “how you are.” Common worries include your health, money, family, or work. While everyone worries about these things once in awhile, if you always expect the worst, it can get in the way of living a normal life.

If you have GAD, you may also have another mental health condition such as depression.

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Ways To Cope With Anxiety That Accompanies Chronic Illness

Reviewed by Phillip Waite, Ph.D.

Anxiety and chronic illness often go hand in hand. When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and later Sjogren’s Syndrome, for example, I had to learn how to deal with having a name for the pain that had plagued me for so long, and I had so many questions about what this pain meant. How would it affect my relationships? Would anyone believe it was real? Would I ever be able to live a normal life? I was bombarded by anxiety regarding the answers to these and other questions that raced through my head.

Many people who suffer from chronic illness or pain also experience some level of anxiety or other psychological distress. In fact, they are three times as likely as those that are healthy to show the symptoms of anxiety. There are several signs that your illness has triggered anxiety:

  • Constant worry over the effects of your illness
  • Sleep disruptions, such as insomnia or nightmares
  • Noticeable change in mood when discussing health
  • Panic attacks triggered by thoughts about what the future holds
  • Avoidance of social outings
  • Avoidance of discussions or treatments associated with your fear
  • Increased, intense thoughts about dying

Ways Anxiety Manifests For People With Chronic Illness

Chronic illness is not always just about your physical health. It can be overwhelming, draining and have a major impact on your mental health. If living with chronic illness makes you especially anxious, know youre not alone. Research and patient experiences suggest anxiety is not an uncommon thing if you live with chronic illness.

As humans, we are hardwired for survival down to our biology, Corie D. Houlbjerg, Psy.D., a psychologist who specializes in helping people with chronic illnesses in Dallas, Texas, told The Mighty. Any perceived threat to our survival can set off the alarms of anxiety, leaving us feeling the urgency to figure out how to dismantle the threat.

And when you live with chronic illness, those survival alarms might go off a lot.

According to Houlbjerg, multiple aspects of chronic illness cause anxiety. These reasons could include worrying about your current life and your future, lifestyle changes, not understanding your full prognosis, waiting for lab results, concerns about fluctuating symptoms, and all the unknowns that come with a chronic illness. How you experience these anxieties in your everyday life can be pretty individual and may range from irritability and anger to panic and avoidance.

Heres what our community had to say:

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How Can Chronic Illness Cause Anxiety

When someone has a chronic illnesswhether it be physical or psychologicalit can be understandably distressing to deal with the symptoms and concerns for the future. The more this illness may consume a persons life and thoughts, the more negativity tends to take over. Hence, it is possible for chronic illness to trigger anxiety because a person begins to associate significant aspects of their life with fearful thoughts and feelings. Then, perhaps the anxiety itself becomes an additional burden on top of the original illness, and the causes for anxiousness increase even more.

This is the nature of anxiety: it tends to compound. It interacts with the surrounding environmental and psychological factors and takes on a life of its own. Anxiety can similarly be triggered by losing someone close, a serious injury, abuse, stressful relationships, and many other traumatic experiences and life conditions.

Its also possible that a persons anxiety symptoms might aggravate their chronic illness. Excessive stress, panic attacks, fearing even everyday situations, insomnia, fatigue, tension and painthese anxious reactions and more can impede a persons healing and potentially make the symptoms of their illness even more serious. When chronic illness and anxiety are co-occurring, it is critically important that they receive comprehensive care and treatment.

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Ways To Manage Pain Anxiety And Health Symptoms When They Suddenly Emerge

Pin on MS/chronic illness

Focus on the Breath

When noticing an uncomfortable or painful health symptom arise in your body, try focusing on your breath.

In that moment, breathing in and out from the belly can help to promote relaxation in the body and ease areas of tension and pain. To read more about deep belly breathing, please go here.

Talk to Your Body to Reduce Anxiety

As you breathe in and out, you can gently ask yourself, If this pain had a voice what would it say?

Paying attention to the response that shows up can be your guide in how to support your mind and body in that moment. Perhaps that voice is telling you to slow down. Maybe it is saying that your need to lie down with a heating pad.

Whatever the message is, just know that the body does its best to support you and that pain symptoms that arise are its way of communicating with you about what it needs.

That voice might be saying:Can we take a break? or maybe, I need to lie down for 10 minutes.

When we give those pain and anxiety symptoms the attention they are seeking, then the body is more at ease and anxiety levels come down.

It is when we ignore and dont pay attention to the anxiety that symptoms get worse. The anxiety and pain continue and may even increase in severity.

Acknowledging the worries and making adjustments to better support what the mind and body are seeking, is a very powerful tool.

Pay Attention to Your Inner Voice

Are you talking to yourself with kindness and compassion or is the opposite happening?

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Silent Suffering: Anxiety And Chronic Disease

What is Anxiety?Co-Occurring ConditionsImportance of TreatmentResourcesMeagan Bates is a healthcare communications professional living in Washington, D.C. She focuses on the need for preventative healthcare to reach improvement for patients and the healthcare system as a whole. She holds a M.A. from Clemson University with a Health Communication Certification.

Needing To Keep Things Clean

When everything you do is a struggle like showering, cooking and cleaning, your anxiety levels can skyrocket when someone has made a mess after you have already cleaned. That just took the last drop of energy I had, damn it! And when someone doesnt care and says youre over reacting? That makes me even more ! I cant sit in a cluttered room. I cant relax in a dirty house. My anxiety shoots through the rooftop. KellyAnn E.

Pain makes me angry at times around people, especially with cleaning. Leave the area if youre not helping. Mary W.

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Ways To Cope With Anxiety And Chronic Illness

by Patient Advocate

Many people who suffer from a chronic illness may also experience great stress and anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety issues came well before the diagnosis of a chronic medical condition and sometimes they come after. Regardless of when the anxiety began, it can be very difficult to deal with in combination with another illness.

During my lifetime I have coped with having phobias, panic attacks, and generalized anxiety. I can tell you that I have never been fond of seeing doctors or of going to hospitals. So when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the autumn of 2007, my anxiety levels shot through the roof. For someone who is afraid of enclosed spaces, I had to undergo many MRI’s where they stick you in a tube and you have to remain still for up to an hour or more. I hate needles, but that is also a part of the process of getting an MRI . I have also always been terrified of physical illness so many of my fears were being invoked at once.

A person who suffers from anxiety quite often feels like they have no control and that bad things can happen at any moment. So when you hear that diagnosis for the first time, that you have an incurable chronic disease or illness, you freak out a little bit. Okay a lot

Here are some ways that I have coped with my anxiety that I hope can benefit others who are in a similar situation.

How Do People Achieve Post


After experiencing a life-altering event, some people experience the phenomenon known as post-traumatic growth. The term was coined in research by Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, who identified five realms of growthrelating to others, seeing new possibilities, finding personal strength, experiencing spiritual change, and achieving appreciation of life. These experiences are far from universal among the chronically ill but it can sometimes be developed through therapy.

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Anxiety: Another Symptom Of Living With Chronic Illness

On reflection, the sudden appearance of intense, mysterious symptoms triggered the fear and panic that often paralysed me, stopping me in my tracks. When I understood the symptoms and why they were occurring, it no longer elicited the same terror that they used to. The anxiety was still an issue, but I could now categorise it as another symptom of living with a chronic illness.

There is still much of my condition that is shrouded in mystery. And its this unknown, the uncertainty that incites much anxiety in my life. With every new pain, or spasm, or symptom, an alarm bell begins to sound. I question whether such a sensation is normal, something related to my condition, or something else entirely. I worry as I try to work out if I should be worried.

Becoming Hypersensitive and Overly Vigilant of Your Body and Health

When symptoms have gone on for so long, you can no longer remember how it feels to reside inside a normal and fully functioning body. As a result, you arent always able to trust your perception regarding your body and subsequent health. As a result, you become incredibly hypersensitive and vigilant of your body in ways that you would otherwise never need to be.

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