Cystic Fibrosis: The Importance of Emotional Wellness
In addition to the physical symptoms that cystic fibrosis patients have to deal with, they and their family, friends and caregivers also face an emotional burden associated with the disease.
As a progressive disease, cystic fibrosis can involve a stressful routine of symptoms and treatments. The CF community may face numerous psychological and social problems due to the demands of the disease, which need to be addressed with as much importance as its physical burden.
Emotional Wellness of Children or Adolescent CF Patients
The lives of children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis can be very different from the ones of healthy children, with great demands regarding feeding, treatments, and regular procedures such as blood tests and cough swabs. Behavioral challenges are often accompanied by the feeling of being different.
Emotional Wellness of Adult Patients with Cystic Fibrosis
“Increasing numbers of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are surviving into adulthood. An understanding of the psychiatric and psychosocial aspects of CF in adults and adolescents is, therefore, more important than ever. There is a large body of evidence indicating that the psychological and psychosocial functioning of people with CF is similar to that of well people until the disease becomes severe. However, there is also evidence that patients do suffer an increased likelihood of psychiatric problems, such as depression, and of scoring poorly on physical functioning measures of quality of life,” note the authors of the study “The psychosocial and psychiatric side of cystic fibrosis in adolescents and adults.”
CF Patients’ Loved Ones’ Emotional Wellness
Not only patients but also family, friends and care givers experience the emotional impact of cystic fibrosis. The signs of emotional problems among the loved ones of CF patients include physical problems such as headaches, stomach problems, back pain and sleeplessness, feelings of frustration, sadness, depression, anxiety, guilt, anger, loneliness, resentment, decreased enjoyment of pleasurable activities, social isolation and blaming, mental issues such as forgetfulness, mental exhaustion, more frequent accidents, trouble deciding, poor attention and memory, and confusion, as well as spiritual issues like feelings of alienation and hopelessness.
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