June 26, 2013

Learning To Live With A Chronic Condition

The Kubler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the "five stages of grief", is a hypothesis introduced by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, that says that when a person is faced with the reality of an awful fate, he or she will experience a series of emotional stages of grief.  It was introduced in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. 
Kubler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, but later expanded it to apply to any form of catastrophic personal loss, including the onset of a disease or chronic illness.  Thus, it is applicable to conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and fibromyalgia, and many others.

  • Denial: "I feel fine.  This isn't happening."  Denial is a defense mechanism--to dispute the diagnosis, to try to maintain your lifestyle, to pretend the condition will not affect you.
  • Anger: "Why me?  This isn't fair."  You can be angry at your doctor, yourself, your body or your surroundings.
  • Bargaining: "I'll do anything for... What if I become a better person?"  This is an attempt to cure yourself, or negotiate away the situation for more freedom from the condition and avoiding treatment by doing good things.
  • Depression: "I'm sad, so why bother with anything?  I don't care anymore."  When the illness or condition is a certainty, you may withdraw or lose interest in outside activities.
  • Acceptance: "I will move forward."  The goal is to come to terms with the reality of the condition and learn to live with it.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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