How can behavioral health help children with chronic medical conditions?

Children and adolescents living with chronic illnesses are sometimes referred for outpatient therapy or behavioral health services. Typically, for individuals with chronic illness, medical interventions and medical care can assist in managing the symptoms associated with the illness, still, it does not necessarily treat the additional stress or emotional toll living with a chronic illness can create for children and adolescents. Children and adolescents with chronic health challenges can experience all sorts of disruption to their life, including challenges with pain, invasive treatments, certain diets, difficulty with sleep, or more frequent doctor’s appointments. All of these disruptions can cause stress, grief, and increased levels of depression or anxiety. Children may exhibit disruptive behaviors around certain medical interventions as a result of the stress they feel in addition to the decreased sense of power they may feel around those interventions. This is where outpatient therapy or behavioral health services can provide additional support for the child and family. Behavioral health therapy can support both the child or adolescent and their family develop awareness of the emotional stress an illness can take and increasing knowledge around adaptive coping strategies to help the child and adolescent better manage the emotions they may feel. These services can promote more adaptive functioning, enhance treatment adherence, prevent the development of mental health challenges or treat any co-existing mental health challenges. In addition, behavioral health services can assist family members in developing skills to better support their child or adolescent as they continue to grow up living with a chronic illness.

Want to know how a Behavioral Health Therapist can Help?

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