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How can a chronic illness affect me emotionally?

Many chronic illnesses can have a strong effect on an individual's mental and emotional status; and, in turn, undiagnosed mental disorders can affect a person's ability to cope with an illness and participate in the treatment and recovery process.

Learning to cope and live with any long term condition is stressful for most people. Persistent, unrelenting stress often leads to anxiety and unhealthy behaviors. It is not uncommon for patients and family members to have prolonged periods of anxiety about the effect the illness will have on their lives. Indicators of anxiety include physical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness, shakiness, headache, and dizziness. Psychological symptoms of anxiety, such as fear of what will happen, include worrying about who will care for you, and how the illness will progress. What you feel and think and how you deal with those emotions can affect your ability to cope with a long term condition in many ways.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.