7 Creative Ways to Deal with Chronic Illness
Getting a diagnosis of a chronic illness can be life-changing. You may experience a variety of physical symptoms related to your condition as well as stress, fatigue and depression. You may be faced with the daunting prospect of balancing your life with an often-demanding schedule of doctor’s appointments and you’ll have to keep up with a potentially confusing medication regime. It can be overwhelming.
However, there are some measures you can take to help you deal with the physical, emotional, social, psychological ramifications of your condition.
Change up your lifestyle. You can take a few steps to improve your health – and maybe even your prognosis – if you make some positive changes to your lifestyle. Stop smoking, eat a healthier diet and if your doctor approves, get some exercise. These changes can potentially help improve your symptoms and your prognosis – and you’ll feel better, too.
Work with a mental health provider. The Cleveland Clinic advises patients to seek help from a mental health provider to understand and cope with your illness and related sources of stress that include uncertainty about the future, unpredictability of the disease, disability and financial difficulties. A mental health provider can help you navigate your way through an array of stress symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, tension, sadness, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed and sleep disturbance. Family counseling might be a good option, especially if your illness impacts your closest relatives.
Get group support. You may be able to find support groups that center around your specific illness. You can learn new and innovative coping strategies from other group members, and you’ll feel less alone in facing the new hardships.
Educate yourself. Harvard Medical School advises chronically ill patients to research their condition to learn more as much as they can so they know what to expect. Consult doctors and nurses you trust to get you started and to point you to trusted sources of information.
Partner with your doctor. Take responsibility for your own health and don’t just depend on your physicians and specialists. Pay attention to your body and symptoms. Monitor any changes and discuss with your medical team. For instance, if you are at risk for heart failure, weigh yourself daily and note any changes.
Coordinate care. You may consult multiple specialists to help manage your condition, and your team may include not only your primary physician but several specialists, a nutritionist and a mental health provider, for instance. They don’t always talk to one another, and the disconnect may impact your treatment. Make sure your providers not only know about one another, but that they are aware of the treatments, testing and medications prescribed by other team members.
Manage medications. Experts agree that taking medications in the right combination, at the right dosage and at the right time is essential in treating any serious illness. Know about all the drugs you take, why you are taking them and what side effects to expect. Get help organizing your prescriptions so that keeping on top of your medications is easy and worry-free.
PersonalRX® products and services can help you organize and manage your multiple medications. We deliver your prescription medications every month in convenient, custom-made dose packages that group your pills so you know exactly what to take and when. PersonalRX also offers patients a Personal Care Coordinator to manage deliveries and refills and also works directly with your physicians to review changes and ensure that your prescriptions are up to date. You also get access to a licensed PersonalRX pharmacist at any hour of the day or night. All of these services come at no extra charge – just the cost of your regular copay!