Psychology and Sociology of health Task 2 Laura O’Neill
Once an individual has been diagnosed with an illness there are many issues that may affect the way they react and cope with this life changing event. For this assignment I will use case study Frank to examine how he may react to his illness evaluating issues involved in his response to his diagnosis.
Being diagnosed with myocardial infarction can have a profound impact on anybody’s life and generally requires considerable psychological adjustment in order to cope with the new situation. Coping is primarily geared to dealing with the direct threat to one’s health in the form of pain and other progressive and debilitating symptoms. Other patients can be confronted with strict treatment regimens which require them to make considerable changes in their lifestyle if they wish to keep their illness under control (De Ridder, Geenen, Kuijer, & Middendorp,). These latter diseases present patients with a so-called self-regulatory dilemma in which they must make considerable changes in the short term to avoid long-term threats.
Diagnosis of a heart attack can take an emotional toll on not only the person being diagnosed but also family members. The emotions will range from deep sorrow to guilt to rage and will change day by day and moment by moment, so understanding and support from family members will be vital to Franks recovery.
There are many feelings associated with the diagnosis of heart disease not only with the person being diagnosed but also family members. Changing emotions are normal and are a natural reaction to the stress of the event. Frank will probably have good days and bad days and initially there is no right or wrong way to feel and every person will react to the news differently and it will most definitely be an emotional roller-coaster for everyone involved.
Common emotions that Frank may feel include Shock. Shock being a natural defence against the painful reality of this unpleasant experience, could last minutes or days. He may feel tearful, disbelieving and angry. In the early stages of diagnosis Frank could be sceptical or disbelieve his heart condition or the need for on-going treatment. Denial is thought to be linked to feelings of being overwhelmed or in shock, which pass quickly as reality sinks in. Most patients admitted with suspected heart disease are anxious. The anxiety generally lessens when realization that the immediate crisis has been survived. However, anxiety can often rise again at the time of discharge from the coronary care unit and again on discharge home. Anxiety can include being worried that there will be another heart attack, being afraid of dying, fear that they are not making very good progress or doubts about the success of treatment. Frank may feel a bit low when he gets back home. This ‘home coming depression’ is common it is regarded as a normal part of the recovery process. In the majority of patients, unless there are further acute events, anxiety and depression slowly remit over time sometimes rising again when return to work is imminent. Poor concentration and memory problems can also cause concern and be due to a number of reasons but also usually improve over time. Being angry with others, or himself, can be a way of covering up underlying fear and anxiety. Thoughts of’ why me’, ‘why now’ are common as it is realised that things that were thought would never happen to us, do actually happen. Fear is a normal response to a change in circumstances. Some people feel angry that they have had heart problems. They may feel they have "done all the right things" and that their heart condition is unfair. Long term anger can be destructive. Uncertainty about work prospects and perceived loss of a major role or respect within the family may cause loss of confidence as will the feeling of being a burden. Frank not being able to carry out tasks he used to not think twice about will