Using Therapy To Manage Life With Chronic Illness or Disability

Recent statistics indicate that nearly 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, and over 25 million Americans are living with chronic pain. 51.8% of Americans have now been diagnosed with a chronic condition.

Chronic Illness Definitions and Types

The NCI Cancer dictionary defines chronic illness as a “a disease or condition that usually lasts for 3 months or longer and may get worse over time.” 

Common Chronic Illnesses

Some of the most widely-known chronic illnesses include: 

  • Chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis 
  • Disorders such as COPD and ALS
  • Metabolic disorders like type 1 and 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome 
  • Autoimmune conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mental health conditions including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression

One of the most challenging things about chronic illness is that the lasting effects of suffering and a limited lifestyle can wear the patient down over time. Most chronic illness lasts for years, if not decades. While some chronic illnesses are widely-recognized, others are relatively new to diagnostics such as fibromyalgia, brain fog, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Many people spend their entire lives struggling with the weight of painful symptoms without a clear diagnosis. 

Disability Definitions and Types

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as “a physical or mental health condition that interferes with one or more major life activities.” Anyone living with a disability knows the barriers it creates in their daily life. 

Common Disabilities 

Some of the most well-known disabilities include: 

  • Alzheimers
  • Aphasia
  • Ehler-Danlos Syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis

Improving Life With Chronic Illness or Disability 

For most people living with a disability, they are used to the mental and physical strain their diagnosis puts on them, but often unsure of where to seek out help. If you are living life with chronic illness or disability, it can be difficult to navigate not only your symptoms, but the emotional challenges associated with your diagnosis. It’s important to lean into your support system and take consistent note of your overall wellbeing in order to improve your longevity and quality of life. 

Those who live with mental and physical health challenges often find solace in seeking out support from different types of talk therapy or psychotherapy. Therapy can help significantly to diminish mental health challenges around life with disability or chronic illness such as anxiety, depression, fear, numbness, and a sense of isolation. Various types of therapy can be used to improve your quality of life, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps to reduce anxiety and depression through targeting changes in thoughts, feelings, and habits that can vastly improve your perspective. 

Whether you’re struggling with a mental health condition, a disability, chronic pain, or any other disorder, Grouport is here to help. Our Chronic Illness Therapy Groups build a sense of community, friendship, and understanding with peers who truly understand what you’re going through. These groups are led by licensed mental health therapists committed to improving your daily life in tangible ways. 

Learn more today about group therapy for chronic illness and get started on the road to a better future. 

April 28, 2022

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