Family scientists are only beginning to understand the complex interaction between a family member with a chronic illness and the adaptations and accommodations made by his or her family.
We do know that having a family member diagnosed with a chronic illness can create increased levels of stress for your family. We also know that in order for your family to adapt to the chronic illness, you must have adequate resources in place in order to perceive the new situation as manageable. The following are some examples of the new stressors your family may be encountering and the new resources your family may need to secure in order to adapt to the new situation.
If a family member is diagnosed with a chronic illness, many stressors will descend on your family:
- Anxiety about the disease. Acid reflux can be difficult to treat, especially if you don't have an experienced medical team yet.
- Daily medical management. Severe acid reflux may require complex treamtment, including multiple medications and special food several times each day.
- Economic stress. Chronic illness tends to bring on economic hardships. If you are a parent, you may have to cut back on work hours in order to care for your child who doesn't feel well, while at the same time your family may be facing increased medical expenses.
- Lost social life. With new medical responsibilities, you may have less opportunities to go out with friends, and you and your family may begin to feel socially isolated.
Thankfully, help can also come from many different places. For example, a supportive network of friends and family, even if it is small, may be extremely important until your family can adapt to the new situation. A compassionate medical community, with the possible inclusion of a medical therapist, may also add to your resources. Acid reflux support groups may also be helpful.
The good news is that with adequate resources, your family can find a new balance and adapt to the increased stress brought about by the illness. The key word here is balance, because with the increased levels of stress, your family will need to find more resources than before the illness to help your family balance the new demands and effectively cope with the diagnosis.
Published On: February 07, 2008