• Auto-Immune disorders are disruptive and potentially disabling illnesses. Multiple Sclerosis, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, and Celiac’s disease, are all considered autoimmune conditions. While some autoimmune disorders can be resolved, most of these conditions are considered chronic.

    As with other chronic conditions, maintaining a satisfactory degree of functioning while managing symptoms and flare ups is a significant challenge. Negotiating the intrusiveness and uncertainty of symptoms can instigate stress and anxiety.

    Stress is linked to the onset and severity of symptoms. It is important to learn how to manage your emotional reactions related to illness-related challenges. We can work with you to help you acquire the skills you need to face your illness head on.

    Call us at 416-944-9292 to book a consultation or fill out our online consultation request form.

     


     

    Multiple Sclerosis

    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative disease that affects the nerves of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). An estimated 55,000-75,000 Canadians have multiple sclerosis.  Based on current prevalence rates, the MS Society estimates that approximately 1,000 new cases of MS are diagnosed in Canada each year.

    Side Effects Include:

    • bladder and bowel problems
    • imbalance/difficulty walking
    • dizziness and sensations of spinning
    • fatigue
    • headache
    • hearing and vision impairments
    • itching
    • muscle stiffness or spasms
    • numbness and tingling
    • chronic pain
    • seizures
    • sexual dysfunction, including impotence and decreased libido
    • speech and swallowing problems
    • tremors
    • cognitive disturbance, including memory loss and concentration difficulties

    The Psychological, Emotional and Social Impacts

    Individuals facing MS tend to experience profound emotional difficulties related to their physical symptoms and the impact these symptoms have on their everyday lives.  Depression, fear and anxiety, stress, grief, frustration, and mood swings are all examples of common emotional reactions one may expect to experience when confronting the disease. Furthermore, physical symptoms such as mobility issues and fatigue may limit one’s ability to engage in social activities outside of the home, leading to social isolation and loneliness.

    Help from Change Clinic

    Managing the emotional difficulties related to MS is critical, as there is evidence to suggest that prolonged experiences of stress, anxiety, and depression may exacerbate the physical symptoms of the disease. Stress-management and psychotherapy, as well as group therapy can effectively help combat the emotional difficulties associated with MS. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in particular has been shown to help relieve depression and alleviate chronic disability associated with MS.


     

    Ulcerative Colitis

    Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It is an intermittent disease, with periods of flare ups or exacerbated symptoms, combined with times that are relatively symptom-free.

    Symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, abdominal sounds (a gurgling or splashing sound heard over the intestine), blood and pus in the stools, diarrhea, fever, rectal pain and weight loss. Other symptoms that may occur with ulcerative colitis include gastrointestinal bleeding, joint pain and swelling, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, and skin lumps.

    Individuals facing ulcerative colitis are often immobilized by pain, creating additional physical problems such as musclular atrophy.

     

    The Psychological, Emotional and Social Impacts

    Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis experience increased sensitivity to stress, including feelings of worry, embarrassment, sadness, and depressiom about having a bowel accident. Stressful events such as moving, or losing a job or a loved one can increase the severity of the illness.

    Individuals with ulcerative colitis commonly experience mood disorders and depression or anxiety. Patients live with the fear of developing colorectal cancer and experiencing flare ups.

    The social impact of ulcerative colitis is often underestimated. It has a disruptive effect on everyday life, including productivity at work, relationships with family members, sexual activity, and self-perception. The fear of fecal incontinence and embarrassment can lead to social isolation.

    Help from Change Clinic

    Research has demonstrated that psychotherapeutic strategies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are effective in developing coping skills to manage anxiety symptoms and pain associated with colitis. Social support can also help with the stress of dealing with illness.