Chronic Illnesses and Medical Problems
The InnerWisdom belief is that many chronically ill individuals can put forth a strong effort to understand and cope with their illness. Successfully coping with a chronic illness on a daily basis often requires a high level of motivation, persistence, and patience. These three personal characteristics are known to be valuable assets in achieving many types of human endeavors.
Anger, bitterness, and the resulting loss of hope can serve as emotional pitfalls for the chronically ill. These responses are not unusual, considering that many chronically ill people often lose a large measure of control over their own bodies. However, because the experience of chronic illness is filled with strong emotions, chronically ill people can learn to redirect these powerful forces toward utilizing and enhancing their own creative talents. This growth experience is what the InnerWisdom Partial Hospital Program is trying to achieve with each individual.
More than 35 million people in this country live with a chronic medical condition. All too often people believe they must resign themselves to giving up things they enjoy doing. But it doesn't have to be that way.
The experience of a chronic medical, as well as a mental health illness, can dramatically change a person's life. In addition to physical or cognitive disability, a prolonged illness can impact one's emotional well being, financial status, and interpersonal relationships. However, a chronic illness does not always have to be a negative life experience. The restrictions imposed by illness cause some afflicted individuals to reevaluate their lives. Chronically ill persons who do not focus their available energy and resources toward meaningful goals often uncover previously unknown talents, abilities, and strength of character.
A chronic illness can dramatically influence personal activities. Participation in important activities is usually dependent on a person's physical well being. First, the type and quality of work performed by a person can be influenced by health factors. The onset of a chronic illness may result in work reduction or job loss for the afflicted individual. Second, participation in recreational pursuits can be negatively impacted by a chronic illness. When a person is struggling with health problems, activities such as sports and hobbies must often be abandoned or significantly reduced.
Crisis with Chronic Illness
Chronic illness is a source of crisis for the afflicted person. People who experience a loss of health may contemplate several questions concerning their circumstances. Why did this illness happen? Are they or others responsible for their condition? Will it ever be possible to regain their health? These questions often elicit emotions of anxiety, guilt, sadness, and anger in people who become chronically ill.
Obtaining gainful employment and adequate medical treatment may pose major challenges for the afflicted person. Efforts to find a job that can accommodate the needs of an ill person are often unsuccessful. The alternative of pursuing disability benefits is both complex and time consuming. Attempts to find and receive helpful medical treatment can be extremely difficult, especially when little scientific knowledge exists concerning the person's illness. Even a healthy person may have difficulty finding a good job and receiving appropriate medical care. A chronic illness makes the possibility of achieving these goals even weaker.
Depression and Despair
The experience of chronic illness is different than being temporarily ill. People diagnosed with chronic illnesses usually cannot expect to regain their health in the near future. This fact makes the illness difficult to cope with psychologically. A certain amount of ongoing despair and depression are normal responses to the experience of chronic illness.
Living with a chronic illness is a test of emotional and physical endurance. People cannot simply take a vacation from their ill bodies when they are tired of feeling bad. Chronic illness and its limitations must be endured constantly, often for the remainder of a person's life.
A chronic illness tends to remove people from the mainstream of life. Once active and leading full lives, they may now experience a lifestyle associated with fewer options and more restrictions. Chronically ill people can become reliant on public assistance in order to attain adequate shelter, food, and medical services.
Healthy people may have a fear of contracting the afflicted person's illness. This fear is usually unwarranted from a medical standpoint. Unfortunately, it may cause a significant loss of social contact for the chronically ill person.
Living with a chronic illness is difficult. Chronic pain and disability have the potential to darken a person's outlook on life. Anyone subject to the harsh rule of a chronic illness is likely to experience a certain level of ongoing fear and frustration. Both body and mind can become unwelcome strangers to the chronically ill.
Disease management involves maintaining the knowledge and commitment to live a healthy and positive life. Fear prevents many from establishing a disease management plan. InnerWisdom clearly sees the need to assist individuals in working with their physicians, clinics, and other health care providers to maintain their well being. Learn to go beyond the "surviving" attitude and take a personal role in your health issues. The challenge of any person with a chronic disease is to clearly identify the essential contributing factors. The most important factors in the progression of an illness appear to be found in the following three categories: triggers, progressors, and host genes.
Triggers are defined as instigators of diseases or problems that cause a persistent chronic response that lead to infections or physical or emotional damage. Understanding triggers assists individuals in overcoming the fear and misunderstanding of their chronic illness. Individuals should educate themselves on what biological changes relate to the illness. This allows the individual to gain confidence and assurance of what may or may not occur.
Initiators are defined as agents in the form of germs or other chemical substances that weaken the immune response, and are directly or indirectly involved in cell and tissue damage. The best examples of initiators are microbes that reside in the individual, and appear to be most harmful under conditions when the host is immune suppressed or unbalanced or under emotional stress. Understanding the progress of an individual's chronic medical problem, and taking certain precautions to alleviate the circumstances, an individual can use methods of self-control and healthy living to avoid situations and events that can place their physical body in harms way.
This area is by far the most misunderstood area of chronic illness in humans today. The contribution of genetic factors to disease initiation and prevention is not well known. Understanding the genetic make up of the person who has the health issues, the life style they led that may have contributed to the chronic illness, and their attitude toward the illness has given us the best understanding on how to gain control over the illness.
Maintain Treatment Consistently
The key to any attack is to find the weakest link in the enemy. It would appear that the most likely target to control the chronic illness would be the progressor, which, in many cases, will be the opportunistic infections. Maintaining regularly scheduled appointments with health care providers and following a routine, but regimented course of treatment, goes a long way in reducing the possibilities of contacting additional illnesses, and should reduce the rate at which any chronic disease progresses. When the body becomes weak due to a chronic illness, it has a difficult time in warding off other potentially damaging problems. All persons with a chronic problem must take great care in maintaining and improving their body's ability to halt the untold host of other potentially harmful illness.
Stress of Treatment
Mental health issues and the stress of treating an illness are often difficult. Stress caused by multiple health care visits can lead to additional complications. By studying the progressors, triggers, and hosts, prevention of opportunistic infections should be more effective, as well as assisting an individual in maintaining a positive, less-stressful approach to their personal health care. The InnerWisdom Wellness Project, which provides information on resources and prevention of disease, would provide individuals with the knowledge and ability to cope with their health care. Information, by itself, is ammunition that can diffuse a potentially frightening experience, making it much more manageable.
Example of Chronic Illnesses
|AIDS / HIV||Endometriosis|
|Autoimmune Disorders||Multiple Sclerosis|
|Brain Tumors||Ovarian Cancer|
|Cancer - General||Polio|
|Cerebral Palsy||Prostate Cancer|
|Chronic Fatigue||Spina Bifida|
|Cystic Fibrosis||Trigeminal Neuralgia|
- Most essential is our core competence in recovery. We maintain an experienced team, advancing our company-wide objective for highly applicable and cost effective mental health treatment.
- We know how to manage a crisis. We provide a rapid response to any situation as we can quickly evaluate the problem, stabilize the condition and anticipate a positive outcome.
- We apply our skills and expertise to help motivate individuals and groups to work together for the betterment of communities.
- Our client community is diverse and varied. This diversity is reflected in our treatment staff, allowing for healthy therapeutic relationships to develop.
- We understand that other people's feelings are central to emotional well-being. Modeling this philosophy is essential for success. Our treatment programs focus on social awareness - the ability to understand and respond to the needs of others.
What Our Clients Say
Everyone made me feel welcome; the staff and clients, from my first day. If I felt lost or confused, I was pointed in the right direction or was given information to answer my questions. I had time to get adjusted to everything without feeling hurried.
All aspects of the program were special. The staff was kind, well trained, professional, and experienced. Treatment was tailored to each person’s needs, complemented by group therapy. My transformation has been wonderful.
InnerWisdom provided an approach to treatment that renewed my spirit, mind, and body. I would recommend the program to any of my family and friends. The environment is nurturing for anyone needing an environment for recovery.
I am very grateful that my treatment was at InnerWisdom, Inc. This place is very special and that is because of the staff and caring environment.
Fabulous treatment program! Can’t put into words how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to come here.
Inner Wisdom has a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) where patients meet in groups with a therapist on a daily schedule. Patients have a variety of mental illness diagnoses, including Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, and substance abuse, which interfere with their ability to live a full and productive life. Students will have the opportunity to shadow therapists, facilitate therapy groups and Psychoeducation groups, meet individually with patients, and understand the case management required by Medicare and private insurance companies. Students work under a variety of therapists and can observe different styles and strengths. A strong team approach is encouraged. Students have the opportunity to get direct experience with patients and to use their skills creatively in offering therapy.
Former Student Intern