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PSYC203-Illness Beliefs.docx

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Dione Healey

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PSYC203- Illness beliefs  Beliefs about Illnesses -Why are beliefs about illnesses important? -Because: -We often interact with people who are ill -We will most likely become ill during our lifetime =ENTIRELY NORMAL -But can become a preoccupation = abnormal  Somatic Symptom Disorder Criteria A. One or more somatic symptoms causing distress or disruption of daily life = functional impairment B1. Disproportionate thoughts about seriousness or B2. Presistent anxiety about the symptom(s) or B3. Excessive time devoted to the symptom(s) C. Lasting 6 months or more (symptoms can shift) Not: Intentional or feigned = factitious disorder Not: Fearing an illness = illness anxiety disorder  The Common Sense Model -Can be applied to beliefs about: -Somatized conditions (eg. Panic attacks = heart attack?) -Mental health conditions (eg. Major depression) -Diagnosed physical conditions (eg. Heart disease) -Potential physical conditions (eg. Heart disease risk) -Can be applied to beliefs of: -People with the condition -Health professionals -Others  Example 1: Lupus -Affects 1 in 1000 people (mostly women) -Autoimmune disease- unclear cause -Onset often slow, with non-specific symptoms (eg. Fatigue, muscle ache) -Some effective medications but cyclical -Photosensitivity to sunlight, causing mild to severe rashes (even in Winter)  Illness Identity in Lupus -Symptoms of and labels for a condition: -“I had a lot of problems with my periods and everything and like I said before if someone had told me that was part of it I could have put it on a backburner” -Lupus patient -“I used to call it SLE, because I don’t really like the word Lupus, but that’s what my parents call it so… I’ve had to deal with that. “ -Lupus patient  Timeline of Lupus -Acute or cyclical illness? Timeline examples: -“It’s chronic now. It used to episodically acute.” -“Looking back… I had my first acute attack… when I was 17… I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 36.”  Causes of Lupus 1 -Lupus patients causal perceptions focus on: -Stress -Heredity (ie, running in the family) -Pregnancy -Viral infections -Medications or chemicals *Or a combination of the above  C
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