Living with Dying: Chronic Illness through an Existential Lens



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University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work


Chronic illness and disease (CID) is an umbrella term that encompasses illnesses which do not go away easily, may go on indefinitely, and usually will not be successfully cured (Catlan, & Green, 2001). The medical world views such illnesses as diabetes, cancer, depression, lupus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as diagnoses that fall under the definition of CID. Although most of these diseases may eventually lead to death, the road there can sometimes take Copyright University of Houston, 2006 8 a lifetime. That same road can be fraught with psychological and emotional distress if the chronic illness is not emotionally processed. Bishop (2005) stated that for most the onset of CID begins, “lifelong process of adapting to significant physical, psychological, social, and environmental changes” (p. 219).



Michael N. Humble, Perspectives on Social Work, Richard Goldman, Chronic Illness, Existential Lens, Social work, Perspectives on Social Work, Goldman, Richard, Chronic illness, Existential Lens