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Showing posts from September, 2014

"Suffering From" or "Living With?"

Vernacular.  It's a powerful thing.  It also changes over time, evolving to fit the current generations' way of thinking and viewpoints.  This is generally a good thing.  In the chronic illness world, some words that were once commonly used to describe a person - like "handicapped" - have been replaced with words that are less stigmatizing or discriminatory.  Another example is the push to use "adherence" rather than "compliance" when discussing a patient's following of a prescribed medical treatment as the medical community has moved, albeit kind of slowly, away from the patriarchal model of the physician-patient relationship.

One term I still see pretty often, including  in the medical research literature, is "suffers from."  As in, patients who suffer from [insert disease name here].  There's no doubt that illness comes with periods of suffering.  But is that the right way to describe the entire experience?

An alternative that…

In the Spotlight: Lupus

This month to continue our Rare Disease of the Month series we are focusing on lupus. It is a mysterious illness that is often misdiagnosed and masks itself in other diagnoses. Much research is needed to improve the quality of life for lupus patients!

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). In patients with lupus, their bodies create autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. Some of the common symptoms of lupus are painful joints, fever, rashes on the skin and face, sensitivity to sunlight, chest pain, ankle swelling, hair loss, and mouth ulcers.  Patients experience flares and remissions throughout the course of their illness. Lupus symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor. With good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life. Some …

How Do We Treat PTSD?

A few weeks ago, we had a guest post from Jessica Naftaly on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in people living with chronic medical illnesses.  If you haven't read it, go check it out.  I wanted to follow up on that post with some information on what we can do to help someone experiencing PTSD.  We've come a long way in the psychology world in this area, thankfully, and there are some really good treatments available.

PTSD isn't a new phenomenon. In fact, I'd venture to guess PTSD has been around as long as people have been around, just called different things and, frankly, poorly understood.  In the U.S. we can go back to World War I for the first real efforts to start to understand and treat PTSD, or "Shell Shock" as it was known then.  The military spearheaded how to identify people who were more susceptible to shell shock with the help of psychologists and psychiatrists, however the treatments remained poor.  Over time, and unfortunately with more w…