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The Stress Continuum Model
When an illness arises, many life activities can be disrupted that may result in a state of crisis for the individual. One may find that the usual way of coping with problems no longer works, at least temporarily. Therefore one may experience feelings of disorganization, anxiety, fear, and depression.
While the medical illness can become a stressor in and of itself, other life stressors may also have a detrimental impact on the medical problem. There is the potential for concern over the financial impact of the illness and social interactions may be impaired. New responsibilities may fall to the person's spouse and children creating additional challenges for the family. The situation can worsen if family or friends, who may not fully understand the psychological impact of the illness, withdraw their support due to discomfort. In addition, individuals, who undergo a Medical Evaluation Board, may remain uncertain about the future of their careers for many weeks or months.
Family members and friends of those suffering from a illness must also learn how to adjust to the person's condition. They may need to make difficult changes in their own lifestyle which can lead to an increase in their own distress. Family and friends can also benefit from asking for support from others.
There are various ways leaders can support sailors facing medical problems:
Family members of those suffering from medical illness can also benefit from seeking support from community resources including:
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Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
7700 Arlington Blvd. Ste. 5113 Falls Church, VA 22042-5113
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General Navy Medical Inquiries (to Bureau of Medicine and Surgery): firstname.lastname@example.org