Autoimmune Disease Covers the Majority of Chronic Disease
Autoimmune DiseaseAutoimmune disease affects up to 50 million Americans, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) and approximately 2 million in Canada or 1/6. An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, turns against the body, attacking healthy cells and tissues. "There are 50 known autoimmune diseases affecting two million Canadians", says Dr. Edward Keystone, director of The Rebecca MacDonald Centre for Arthritis and Autoimmune Diseases at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Autoimmunity disproportionately affects women. Autoimmune diseases usually fluctuate between periods of remission (little or no symptoms) and flare-ups (worsening symptoms). While we don’t yet understand all the causes of autoimmunity or how to completely cure it, researchers are learning more about the immune system and why it becomes overactive, including the role of genetics and neuroplasticity. List of Autoimmune diseases
Some other chronic conditions that you might be challenged with that are not considered autoimmune; Diabetes, Depression, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Cancer, COPD, Heart Disease, Obesity to name a few.
Understanding the Psychological Impact of a Chronic Condition.
If you are coping with chronic condition you know how it affects every area of your live, possibly leaving you emotionally and physically challenged to cope with it. Chronic conditions can be invisible to others, even those that care for you the most, and they may not understand causing them to doubt it is real. If you are living with chronic condition you know about feeling judged by others. You might also be judging yourself. You know about feeling lost when your world is turned upside down. You know how difficult it is to make plans for fear of having to cancel (yet again) because of a pain flare up. You know about the fear that comes with being told that it will only get worse or the doctors can offer no solutions. You may know about the sadness that comes when you loose the ability to care for your children or the loss of identity, job, purpose, or when relationships disappear.
How Can Counselling Help with Chronic Diseases
Counselling can help you process all of these emotions; help you find a light and so much more. Counselling can help you learn how to manage the symptoms and reduce flare up. When we think of autoimmune diseases or chronic conditions most of us think of it as purely physical. We tend to think of it as having a physical cause that we need to label and then fix. Anyone with chronic condition can tell you about spending endless amount of time looking for the cause in hope of finding a solution. This can leave you feeling helpless. Autoimmune disorders have a link to a overstimulated nervous system that causes the body to attack healthy cells, Immune system is misfiring based on a complex network of signals from the brain to the body. It is a matter of biology; It is part of our DNA of survival called fight or flight. These nerve impulses keep sending messages alerting the brain about danger even when there is no danger, and this causes the autonomic system to react, causing the misfiring. Look at it like a someone running their nails on a blackboard (sorry about that). It hits your nervous system in an intense way causing you to try and self protect. These messages alerting the brain have a link to our past experiences involving complex social, environmental and psychological factors. Counselling and health management techniques can help you find the triggers that are setting off the nervous system which helps to relieve symptoms and induce remission.