Impacts of Chronic Illness

Therapy can help you and your family cope with chronic illness. Contact Christin P. Bellian.

The impacts of chronic illness can have a negative effect on individuals due to the accompanying stress and anxiety. When this stress and anxiety is enduring and prevents a person from returning to their baseline functioning, it is called post-traumatic stress.

Post-traumatic stress has serious implications for people with chronic illnesses.


  • More bothersome symptoms
  • Increased depression
  • Increased utilization of medical care


  • Embitterment, including bitterness, defeat, anger, hostility
  • Demoralization including hopelessness, helplessness, isolation


  • Isolation
  • Alienation
  • Stigma

With therapy, people with chronic illness are more likely to experience post-traumatic growth, which is the process of positive transformation after a trauma.


Post traumatic growth has been shown to improve people’s mental health, their overall health status, and how they experience their symptoms.


Many people report positive self-growth as a result of adapting to chronic illness. Therapists can help their clients with chronic illness achieve post-traumatic growth many ways, depending on the time and progression of the illness:

At time of diagnosis:

  • Encouraging social support
  • Offering understanding that is free of guilt or blaming
  • Providing psychoeducation
  • Providing a sense of safety
  • Bringing awareness to potential impacts on biological, social, and psychological aspects of life

In transitional periods of life:

  • Encouraging social support
  • Providing psychological support


  • Providing continued psychoeducation
  • Encouraging continued social support
  • Providing continued psychological support
  • Increasing cultural and social awareness
  • Respecting the individual’s self-management

I am especially interested in working with clients and their families who are affected by chronic illness.  My first career was as a nurse and I have personal experience with chronic illness. Reach out if I can support you, your partner, or your family as you deal with chronic illness.