Chronic Disease Management
What is Chronic Disease
Chronic disease is a condition that is “prolonged in duration, does not often resolve spontaneously,
and is rarely cured completely”. Some can be life threatening, such as heart attack and stroke, others
are not but need intensive management, such as diabetes. Living with a chronic disease might involve
adjustment in different aspects of a person’s life, including physical, financial, emotional,
psychological, and personal.
What it includes
Common chronic illnesses includes:
- Coronary heart disease
- Depression and other mental health conditions
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic kidney disease
Chronic disease management is a person-centred approach that aims to enhance the quality of life and health outcomes for those who suffer from a chronic conditions. They might require complex care and are often being managed by their GP and other allied health practitioners.
Effects of Chronic Disease
While some people with chronic conditions are able to cope with their illness, some are not. People are affected differently by different chronic illnesses but common problems of managing chronic illness do exist, such as
- The physical symptoms and other complications of the chronic illness
- Treatments and the cost involved
- Emotional and psychological distress to cope with the negative feelings and self-confidence
- The impact on the family and significant others
- Disruption to work, financial and personal relationships
When to Seek Help
Managing the stresses of chronic illness can be challenging and stressful in itself. Stress can impact on recovery and the way people cope with the condition and its treatment. Here are some warning signs and symptoms of stress, if you are experiencing any of the mentioned signs and symptoms, it is recommended that you consult your GP for a full assessment.
Common warning signs and symptoms of stress:
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Anxious and racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Irritable, depressed mood
- Agitation, difficulty to relax
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of helplessness, loneliness and/or isolation
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Neglecting self-care or other responsibilities
- Substances and/or alcohol uses as coping
- Other physical symptoms (e.g., pains, dizziness, breathing difficulties, rapid heart rate, loss of sex drive, etc.)
Available Treatment and How it Works
The use of psychological intervention varies depending on multiple factors such as the chronic condition itself, the patient’s attitudes toward the disease and much more. Effective evidence-based interventions for managing chronic disease including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused approach.
Psychological strategies that may be used include sleep hygiene, activity pacing, psycho-education, stress management, structural problem-solving, and etc. However, treatment outcome, duration and frequency do vary across individuals. It is important to speak to a doctor or mental health practitioner for more information and help in managing with a chronic condition.
Please view the profiles of our team below who work with individuals who suffer from chronic disease management
If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.