Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Possible Adjustment Difficulties

Every situation is different, but there are similarities in how people respond when facing the stressors of a chronic health condition. Adjustment difficulties commonly observed in children with chronic health conditions and/or in their parents and siblings include the following:

  • Disturbance of mood: feelings of anxiety or fear, sadness and depression, hopelessness, irritation, anger, disinterest or lack of pleasure in activities formerly of interest, emptiness, guilt
  • Behavior difficulties: temper outbursts, aggressive/delinquent behavior, refusal to comply with procedures or taking of medication, difficulty concentrating, change in activity or energy level
  • School: academic problems, change in school performance
  • Work: change in job performance
  • Social issues: decreased interest in peers, increased isolation from peers, increased feelings of not being able to "connect" with people
  • Self-esteem issues: sense of being different, low self-confidence
  • Family issues: increased strain in relationships, different perceptions of issues, blame, communication difficulties
  • Parent issues: time-management difficulties, financial worries, marital stress, guilt, self-blame and/or blame of others, discipline problems
  • Physical issues: changes in eating, sleep disturbance, stomachaches or headaches, tiredness, overactivity