Mood Disorder as a Reaction to Physical Illness

Most children and their families adapt well to chronic physical illness (Eiser 1994); however, psychological distress and adjustment problems in response to pediatric illness are relatively common (Borowsky et al. 2003). The onset of a serious physical illness may be associated with helplessness and a profound sense of loss, which may manifest as symptoms of depression. Most individuals are able to work through these initial phases of sadness and anger, which are understandable responses to the many stressors associated with having a chronic illness.

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