Living with chronic illness and pain can be challenging in many ways. It can impact your energy levels, emotional state, physical appearance, financial status, social functioning, and even your independence.
In any situation, much of how we experience our life is determined by our mental and emotional state. If we are suffering from chronic illness such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, or chronic pain, there is a lot of uncertainty and fear. Psychological treatment can help us cope with these challenges and prevent them from causing further illness such as depression and anxiety.
When living with chronic illness, we benefit from today’s advanced medical technology that allows us to live longer lives. While medicine is able to manage our physical condition(s) and provide some relief from chronic and persistent pain, we can also learn coping skills so we can manage our psychological and emotional states.
Therapy for chronic illness
The principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are shown to address effectively problems and challenges associated with chronic illness/pain. CBT can help us change our perceptions of our conditions and allow us to actively manage our thoughts so we can gain better control over our emotional reactions. CBT emphasizes the use of positive coping skills that will improve our overall mood and functioning.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is very effective for those living with chronic illness and/or persistent pain. ACT is a mindfulness-based approach that can help us change our expectations and responses to pain and illness from the elimination of uncomfortable symptoms to living the best we can with the conditions. We are able to effectively take back a certain level of control. According to ACT principles, pain hurts, but it is the internal struggle with pain which creates suffering. ACT has three main tenants:
- Acceptance of circumstances (illness/pain),
- Choosing reactions mindfully,
- and deciding to Take action instead of being paralyzed by unpleasant thoughts, feelings, or sensations.
Studies that have been conducted have shown that ACT is highly desirable for those living with chronic illness and pain.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain or chronic illness, research shows that these treatment approaches are effective for all ages, including older populations. Don’t suffer in silence. Treatment is available.
Reach out today for help
Rick Merillat, LCSW, BCD provides therapy for those living with chronic illness and chronic pain in Cape Coral, Florida. If your physical condition(s) limits your ability to travel to an office-based appointment, Rick can provide counseling sessions via secure video. Medicare and most major insurance carriers now cover telehealth services.
If you would like to learn more, please call or fill out the contact form. Rick offers a complimentary 15-minute phone consult.Please share this post!