Battling Serious Illness Can Cause PTSD


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (better known as “PTSD”) is an anxiety disorder that involves feelings of distress that result from a past trauma.

PTSD is known to affect people who have undergone extreme situations like war or emotionally significant ones such as the death of a loved one.

Though most people are unaware of it, dealing with the emotional effects of serious illness can also lead to PTSD. People who have a potentially fatal or even chronic condition have to face challenges healthy people do not. They wonder if they will ever recover, how their life will be changed, and whether they will even survive. Even after recovering, people who have experienced serious illness may continue to worry about the return of their condition. This is a particular concern of people who struggle with cancer.

The feeling of not having control over one’s life can be very stressful. Memories of a trauma can also be highly unpleasant and affect present behaviors and choices.

An article for the Washington Post describes how a little girl who was once diagnosed with leukemia and her family are still affected by her battle with the illness. Certain settings and things in their environment can trigger bad memories of when they were worried their loved one would not survive.

To read the article about the brave child who beat leukemia, visit the link below. The writer also discusses how PTSD is affecting other people who have had cancer.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tonya January 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I survived a PE in 2003. My husband had to do CPR. I remember going down and I also remember how hard I had to fight to ‘come back’, as my husband was fighting to save my life. I remember only being able to hear in muffled tones, hearing my husband crying out for me to not leave him, of eventually getting pinprick vision, and then slowly being able to feel my body again. The realization of warmth underneath me and of the fact that my bladder let go as I went out. I remember asking over and over “what happened?” and asking angrily”why am I wet!?”. We were visiting my in-laws when this happened, in their kitchen. I could not go to their house for a long time after, and I could not go into the kitchen for even longer. They changed the flooring after this occurred, I think they thought it would help, and weirdly, it did. I have to make myself stop when I find I’m reliving it. It’s been over 10 years, why is it still so hard?


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