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Coping With Chronic Illness

What is chronic illness?

Chronic illness is when a person is living with a long-lasting health condition which often interferes with daily life for more than 3 months.

A chronic illness usually cannot be cured, but it can often be well-managed to allow the person to lead an active life.

Chronic illness is very challenging and may further complicate life for teenagers who are already undergoing rapid physical and psychological changes.

Examples of chronic illnesses are asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, genetic disorders and mental illness.

What does chronic illness do to me?

Chronic illness, might affect you emotionally, physically and financially too.

It may affect your self-esteem, peer relationship and your schooling.

Chronic illnesses have majorimpacts upon families, schooling and financial.

Goals for young people living with chronic illness often include being able to:

  • Develop and keep friendships
  • Participate in the sports of their choice
  • Sleep well at night
  • Attend school most of the time
  • Control symptoms of chronic illness using medicines with as few side effects as possible
  • Feel comfortable when handling the management of the chronic illness

What can I as a teenager do to deal with it?

  • You should try to understand your illness
  • Get help from your doctors or parents
  • Take active part in handling your illness. It helps you to become stronger and empower you to cope with the difficulties
  • Self-discipline is essential for optimum treatment

How can parents help?

  • Encourage your teenager to share his or her concerns related to the chronic illness
  • Inform him or her about anticipated physical-effects of medications and treatment. Encourage discussion about ways to reduce or cope with the effects
  • Involve your teen in health-related discussions
  • Teach him or her self-care skills related to the illness
  • Encourage your teen to monitor and manage their treatment needs
  • Encourage your teenager to spend time with friends as much as possible
  • Get your teenager’s friends to support him or her

Last Reviewed : 26 Mac 2012
Writer : Dr. Thiyagar Nadarajaw