Illness_and_family_members

Illness and Family Members

Effects of Illness On Loved Ones

Most people have had to deal with a sick loved one at some point in their life. In most cases, an ill family member is often the biggest cause of distress to a person, versus a close friend or a coworker. The connection we feel to family members is the main reasonwe feel distress when a loved one is sick. It is a natural instinct to protect family and those close to us, and when someone is ill, the stress of being helpless can cause psychological problems to the family and friends of a patient. There are many ways illness of a loved one can affect the people around them and fortunately, there are also many ways to cope with the stress

Effects on Spouse

-Sadness -Helplessness

-Loneliness

-Depression

-Anxiety

-Stress

-Financial trouble

Spouses are oftentimes affected the most by serious illness. The idea of marriage is that two people become one, and if one is ill, it greatly affects their spouse. Sadness and helplessness are the most common emotions experienced when dealing with an ill spouse. The feeling of not being able to help your loved one and having to watch them suffer causes these feelings to occur and they can be difficult to get rid of. Depending on the situation and the person affected, one can also develop an extreme sense of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Loneliness occurs after the loss of a loved one or when a spouse is so ill that they are unresponsive and the healthy spouse begins to feel as if they are alone. Depression and anxiety can occur either while the loved one is living due the stress and sadness of having an ill spouse, or after thepassing of the patient. Anxiety disorders are normally brought on by the stress of watching one suffer, and also very commonly the stress that comes with financial trouble caused by excessive medical bills.

Effects on Parents

-Anger

-Depression

-Anxiety

-Financial trouble

-Empty feeling

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Parents are also impacted greatly by an ill loved one, which in this case, happens to be a child. Parents are said to be affected the most because of the instinct they have to protect their children from all things harmful. Many parents experience deep anger over the fact that their child is suffering and they are completely helpless when it comes to helping them and keeping them out of harms way. This can lead to depression, along with many other factors of having an ill child like sadness, stress, denial, and even losing a child. Anxiety is also commonly developed because of the anger, stress, financial trouble, and constant worry that comes along with having an ill child. If a parent loses a child due to illness, these feelings often intensify and require extensive psychological treatment to help the parent come to terms with what has happened and overcome the empty feeling they face.

Effects on Siblings

-Loss of attention

-Increased acting out for attention

-Anger

-Loneliness

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Although it often goes unnoticed, siblings are deeply affected not only by the fact that their sibling is ill, but also personally. Even though it's unintentional, parents often begin to slightly overlook the healthy child(ren) because they're busy tending to the needs of the sick child. Children need attention, and when they don't receive enough attention, problems begin to arise. They will often begin to act out and throw temper tantrums, or even worse, start to harm themselves or others in order to gain the attention they feel they need. This is where the anger comes in. Loneliness is also a factor that affects siblings and can cause them to act out.

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Effects on Non-Immediate family

-Tension among patient's family

-Strained friendships due to stress of family members

-Worry

-Community togetherness

-Rumors

Although families are impacted the most by the illness of a family member, non-immediate family and family friends are also affected by the situation. They spend a lot of their time worrying about the sick patient, which can distract them from other daily duties. Tension among the patients family caused by short fuses from a lot of stress and from the pressures of making the right medical decisions for the affected person. With tension among family members, it can pass onto strained friendships because the stress of the family members is too great to handle themselves and they begin taking it out on others. There are positives that come out of the situation, however. Many times a community will come together to help a family struggling with an ill member and will assist financially, or just be there for them as an outlet to their stress. Rumors, however, often occur too, which just adds to family tension among them and among the community.

Work Cited
Pakenham, Kenneth I., School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, kenp@psy.uq.edu.au Cox, Stephen, QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, Test of a model of effects of parental illness on youth and family illness, September 2012, online journal
Emotion, American Psychological Association, 2001, Academic Journal
Families, Systems, & Health, Educational Publishing Foundation, Family Systems Medicine vol. 1 (1) - vol. 13, 1983, Online Journal
Medthodology: European Journal of Research Methods for the Behavioral & Social Sciences, Hogrefe Puglishing, 1614-2241 vol. 1 (1), 2005, Academic Journal