The Patient’s Reaction to Illness

Eric J. Cassell

in The Nature of Healing

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195369052
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979103 | DOI:
The Patient’s Reaction to Illness

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The sick are different from the well. The ways people react to being ill depends on the persons, the interrelated conditions in which the illness occurs, their medical care, the disease, or the pathophysiology. It includes an area of irreducible individuality of both patient and healer. It is important to know about psychological responses to illness. Fears come in different shapes and reasons—fear of death and death anxiety. Also discussed are the problem of social stigma, learning about psychological problems, learning to be quiet and to listen without giving advice, the meaning of the illness, the loss of central purpose, anger at the body because it is sick, and the importance of helping patients with their reactions to illness and medical care.

Keywords: illness, reactions to; psychological reactions; fear; fear of death; death anxiety; social stigma; contagion, fear of; meaning; purpose; chronic disease

Chapter.  5966 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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