Coping with Autoimmune Diseases PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 November 2011 14:21
Everybody has to cope. This was the sentiment expressed by Dr. Robert Phillips at the Caribbean Autoimmune Diseases Summit, when he presented on Coping with Autoimmune Diseases. As Dr. Phillips discussed, each person living and dealing with an autoimmune disease would have different problems. As a result, each person would deal with their problems differently and therefore require alternative strategies for coping.

Devised by Dr. Phillips, SPEAK is a framework which can be applied to help develop a greater level of understanding about the problems and challenges to be faced.
  • S: Refers to the social factors. Family, friends, and co-workers would have difficulties in understanding what you are going through. They may not also understand and meet your changing health and lifestyle demands
  • P: Refers to the physical factors. Two of the most difficult symptoms to deal with in autoimmune diseases are pain and fatigue. It is also difficult to manage, as they both cannot be seen and are hard to relate to others
  • E: Refers to the emotional factors. These include stress, frustration, depression, and anger. They too are hard to deal with, as we often feel that they are out of our control. Dr. Phillips noted that these can all be effectively managed
  • A: Refers to our activities. These cover all of our daily activities – sleeping, eating, walking, working, spending time with loved ones, and much more. Understanding our limitations help with managing our autoimmune disease
  • K: Refers to Kin. One of the most important factors, as indicated by Dr. Phillips, is family. More often than not, they constitute our support system. Patients with autoimmune diseases also often deal with them, better than their family members.

With a greater level of understanding of our disease and the factors which influence us, we can then develop and roll out applicable coping strategies. Some of which include;
  • Relaxation Techniques: Yoga, meditation, biofeedback, and more. They are very important for dealing with an autoimmune disease, as they all help reduce stress and management with some of your symptoms (such as pain).
  • Cognitive Techniques: The way we think. The difference between a happy person and an unhappy person is not that you have negative thoughts, but how you deal with them, according to Dr. Phillips. Negative thoughts are your worst enemy. The way you think can be your “best friend” in dealing with an autoimmune disease
  • Exercise: This can certainly help change your mindset – it requires work and is truly worthwhile in the end
  • Communication Skills: Good Communication and having a good support system is essential to successfully coping. Having a sense of humour is a great coping mechanism – find something to laugh about
  • Quick Release: A simple relaxation technique which involves tensing the whole body and holding as long as you can (without feeling pain), slowly releasing the tension and feeling it gradually leave your body. A simple technique that is repeated three times.
In closing, Dr. Phillips noted that no matter the problem you may face, you have control and can always improve the quality of your life.

 
More articles :

» Frequency of Sexual Dysfunction In Women With Rheumatic Diseases

Sexuality is part of human life and of quality of life, accounting for individual well-being. It relates not only to sexual intercourse itself, but also to a whole spectrum that ranges from self-image and self-valuing to relationship with the...

» Rare Diseases Day

Febuary 28th, 2010 was Rare Diseases Day, and it was marked with a variety of events and activities all over the world - as well as with plenty of citizen media and online participation. The goal was to raise awareness about so-called. These are...

» Living With A Chronic Illness

Properly diagnosing a chronic illness can take anywhere from two to three years. Many of you wait even longer. In the meantime, while the doctors scratch their heads, we’re expected to be happy we’re alive. And that’s if they don’t write us...

» The Interplay Between Environmental and Genetic Factors in Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders constitute a group of more than 80 different diseases characterized by immune attack of components of a person’s own body, mediated by and autoreactive T cells. Specifically, the common feature that defines autoimmune...

» The Dendritic Cell and The Link between Atherosclerosis and Autoimmunity

Individuals who suffer from autoimmune diseases also display a tendency to develop – the condition popularly known as hardening of the arteries. Clinical researchers at LMU, in collaboration with colleagues in Würzburg, have now discovered a...

» Scientists and Clinicians Address Diagnosis and Treatment for Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Diseases

Autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases are a major health issue. The National Institutes of Health reports that up to 23.5 million Americans are afflicted. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association reports the number is closer to 50...

Add comment

Do feel free to leave your comments, as they would add value and knowledge to the community. However, please refrain from making any disparaging, uninformed, or unrelated comments. Thanks :)

Security code
Refresh

Login



Wise Words

"Happiness can only be found if you free yourself from all other distractions"
Saul Bellow

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right"
Isaac Asimov

"Before someone's tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today"
Michelle C. Ustaszeski