Chronic Illnesses

Emotional Impact of Physical Illness

According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), people diagnosed with a chronic physical health problem such as; cancer, diabetes and heart disease or a musculoskeletal, respiratory or neurological disorder are between two and three times more likely to suffer from a mental illness, depression being the most common.

Having a mental illness such as depression and anxiety can have a serious impact on a person’s day to day health and well being. Additionally, it is often the case that if psychological problems go undiagnosed; it can have a negative impact on the management of the chronic physical condition and potentially lead to the development of long term complications.

It is recommended by NICE that treatments for mental health should and must be done in tandem with the condition management.

It has been clinically reported that people suffering from chronic physical illnesses, may experience atypical side effects of medications prescribed for the treatment of mental illness. Treatment is therefore, extremely individualistic and clinical guidance is.

New age treatments for mental health issues have been shown to be particularly effective and are now increasingly being combined with condition management of the chronic physical illness in more self-empowering ways.

Mindfulness meditation is one such new age treatment. Mindfulness programs incorporated with condition management, for example; Mindfulness Based Diabetes Management addresses the particular psychological impact the disorder has on an individual’s mental state.

A mindfulness course teaches acceptance and the art of being in the present moment. The aim of such a course is to adapt how patients they view their condition, recognise how a chronic physical illness such as diabetes affects both physical and psychological well being.

Mindfulness based diabetes management teaches daily exercises intended to address the specific emotional and psychological impact of a life changing condition such as diabetes. In turn, changes to psychology, have been shown in some cases to improve symptoms of the chronic physical illness while enhancing quality of life.


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