Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Perpetuating Dependency

Patient Dependency

THE FAMILY:

dependencyThe family should facilitate recovery, but my experience has been that most often it facilitates disability.

Quite often, the family:

a. increases the patient’s expression of dependency,

b. encourages the patient to take greater amounts of medication so that the family will have to listen to less complaints,

c. reinforces the patient’s anger and frustration

d. exacerbates the patient’s fear of abandonment

e. increases the patient’s blame of others for what has happened to them

f. increases the patient’s suspicion of those involved in their care.

This is often worse if one or more family members are also, in some manner, disabled.

Often a nurse case manager can assist the patient in more accurately perceiving options and outcome.

It may also be necessary to remind the family that their actions are merely increasing the patient’s perceptions of disability.

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