Remission, Relapse & A Chronic Illness

by | 05. May 2015 11:33

Successful treatment for mostly all chronic illnesses is demonstrated by significant reduction in recurrence of acute symptoms.  The goal of most treatments for chronic illness is complete sustained remission of all symptoms.  The nature of chronic illness makes complete remission, in perpetuity, a painstaking task.  It is hard to get well.  It takes vigilance and sacrifice that can be challenging to accept and then maintain.  When we are diagnosed with a chronic condition, it is life altering.  We can be determined not to be limited by our illness.   This resiliency walks a razor’s edge, however.  On one end we have the capacity to face down our condition, alter our lifestyle, embrace our survival & make necessary changes to keep symptoms at bay.  On the other hand we can minimize the seriousness of the condition, soldier on with our current lifestyle & minimize/endure the damage it is causing.  There is no moral code for these decisions; it is our right as individuals to make independent choices for the life we want to lead.  Bearing that in mind, most people want to achieve or experience some level of contentment in their life.  Chronic, progressive conditions like addiction cause pain. Eventually that pain begins to intrude on a person’s ability to feel contentment; to the point where it can no longer be ignored.  We then contemplate getting help. Some, most, then decide they NEED help.  A menu of helpful options is available for people with substance abuse disorders.  There is definitive proof that these accepted, studied, and commonly practiced remedies can be effective at reducing relapse.  The combination of counseling and medication assistance is the gold standard from the treatment angle of the recovery process.  It requires vigilance, however, and that is the toughest part.  It can be easier to get well than to STAY well.  Human tendency can lead us to discard help in the belief that we are past its ability to aid us.  “I don’t need it anymore” or “I got this” are common refrains.  That is when relapse occurs.  Have you eve taken an antibiotic?  Notice that the instructions say to “Take all medication as directed until finished”  or some variation of that.  People preemptively stopping treatment is not unique to addiction.  Research treatment options, ask questions, seek second opinions, do the homework, make there tough decisions either for yourself or with a loved one in mind.  There is no shortage of resources in the greater Philadelphia five county area (Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Philly and Chester counties) .  For information about reducing relapse and utilizing treatment options, check out this press release from the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence here.  For the full article, check it out on Forbes website here

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