Long term illness and mood

Any long-term illness can cause anxiety and low mood                                            

Understandably, anyone with a long-term illness may sometimes feel depressed, anxious or have difficulty sleeping. It can quickly become a vicious circle as the low mood or anxiety have a “knock-on effect” on their illness. Anxiety, for example, can cause physical symptoms such as feeling sick, sleeping badly or feeling very tired.

The importance of managing the psychological effects of long-term physical illness is becoming more widely understood and accepted. Many hospitals have psychologists for certain conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis or chronic fatigue syndrome.

It’s important to look at the whole person and consider what else may contribute to general well-being and health, both physically and mentally. This might be practical things like looking at food, exercise and sleep as well as psychological support. Family therapy can be helpful as it is often hard for parents and siblings as well. 

What support is there for families?

Family therapy is sometimes offered via a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, or via a local charity. If your child is an in-patient there may be a parent peer support group (see below for links) or you could start one if not. It is also worth looking at free Parenting groups provided by your local city council or local charities e.g in Bristol, the charity Off The Record has a parent group. Our pages on anxiety and low mood might be also useful for your child (or yourself)

Help for chronic fatigue and other long-term illness

For parents

For children and young people