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Chronic Health Issues

Experiencing chronic health issues can make everyday tasks and participation in activities difficult. This can eventually lead to mental health conditions. Seeking support from a therapist or counselor can help you process your emotions and develop strategies for your long-term well-being.

What Are Chronic Health Issues?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a chronic health issue is a long-term illness that lasts for one or more years, limits your daily functioning, and requires constant medical support. Although there are a wide variety of chronic health issues, the stressors associated with these issues can burden your mental health similarly. The stressors caused by chronic health issues can lead to feelings of sadness, discouragement, and in some cases, hopelessness.

Common Signs of Distress for Chronic Health Issues

Some common signs of distress for chronic health issues include:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Anxiety
  • Aches and pains
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Types of Chronic Health Issues

  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Autoimmune such as multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Asthma

Co-Occurring Mental Health and Chronic Health Issues Statistics

Research shows that there is a high correlation between chronic health issues and mental health conditions. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), these issues affect a large percentage of those with illnesses. For example, 51% of people with Parkinson’s disease, 42% of people with cancer, 27% of people with diabetes, 23% of people with cerebrovascular issues, 17% of people with cardiovascular issues, and 11% of people with Alzheimer’s have a co-occurring major depressive disorder (MDD). 

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Many stressors associated with a long-term illness can take a toll on your mental health over time. One of the most significant stressors can be the long or often permanent nature of the illness. When you have an acute or short-lived illness like a cold, you know you will feel better eventually. However, with a chronic illness, you know you may have to deal with those pains and issues for an extended period or for the rest of your life. That can be a difficult reality to process without mental and emotional support.

Stressors Associated with Chronic Health Issues

  • Physical symptoms
  • The treatment process
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Unpredictable changes in health
  • Financial struggles
  • Disabilities
  • Social isolation

Why Is Treatment for Co-occurring Mental Health and Chronic Health Issues Important?

Everyone deserves to lead a life that brings them joy and fulfillment – even when dealing with long-term health changes. Unfortunately, untreated mental health disorders can make it difficult to see your life beyond your diagnosis. If you have experienced co-occurring mental health and chronic health issues, you may be struggling to cope. This combination impacts your daily life and the activities you once enjoyed. 

Seeking support from a therapist or counselor can help you address your mental health condition as you build skills and strategies for living with your chronic health issue. Moreover, when you receive support in taking care of yourself in body and mind, you’ll find more happiness and motivation in your life. Reaching out is the first step in creating a life where your chronic health issue does not dictate your happiness.

What Do Co-Occurring Mental Health and Chronic Health Issues Feel Like?

Temporary feelings of sadness and discouragement are common – and, frankly, expected – when you are diagnosed with a chronic health issue. However, as noted in an article from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), if you continue to feel deep sadness for more than a couple of weeks, you may be experiencing symptoms of depression.

With untreated depression symptoms, you may find it difficult to function in your daily life, find joy in your relationships, and participate in leisure activities. Besides depressive symptoms, you may experience symptoms from other mental health disorders.

Co-Occurring Symptoms

  • Concentration issues
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Weight changes
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Persistent sadness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep issues

What Makes Our Program Unique?

At Mindfuli, we believe in relationship-based care to support you on your journey to wellness from the comfort of your home. With our flexible virtual platform, we can provide real-time video, audio-only, and chat-based communication to support you and your needs. We can provide mental and emotional support to help you process your feelings as you discover and build healthy coping strategies. We are focused on helping you find happiness and fulfillment in your life again.

Evidence-Based Care

  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Virtual support groups

To learn more about how we can support co-occurring conditions, visit our Chronic Health Conditions page.

Getting Help

If you feel like you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder related to a chronic health issue, seeking support can help you address, process, and build coping skills to heal from your symptoms. Co-occurring mental health disorders with chronic health issues can make it difficult to participate in activities and function in your daily life. However, with the support of a care team, you can start creating a life that provides happiness and fulfillment again. At Mindfuli, we believe in the collaborative nature of a therapeutic alliance where you work hand in hand with your care team on your journey to lifelong wellness.

To learn more about our approach to care and the therapeutic alliance, visit our Home page.

Co-occurring mental health and chronic health issues can make daily functioning difficult. With treatment, you can process your feelings and build healthy coping strategies to enhance your well-being. At Mindfuli, our virtual platform and commitment to collaborative care can support you as you build a healthier version of yourself. Call (888) 703-3004 today.

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