A serious illness can challenge your coping abilities. How you react to your illness may influence how quickly you recover or how well you enjoy life with a chronic condition. Even if you are healthy, maintaining habits that help you to stay that way—such as not smoking, managing stress, and eating and sleeping well—can be challenging.
The ChristianaCare Health Psychology program focuses on the many factors that can influence health and illness. Based on a biopsychosocial model, the program takes into account how a person’s biology, psychological reactions and social environment may play a role in various diseases or conditions.
How a health psychologist can help you
A health psychologist can teach you how to cope with your emotional reactions to medical problems and manage your circumstances more effectively. Relaxation training, hypnosis and other strategies may help you to reduce bothersome symptoms and decrease the negative impact of stress and other health challenges on your life.
The Health Psychology team works with doctors and other health care professionals to treat patients with obesity, cardiac disease, diabetes and other conditions.
Health Psychology may help you if you are experiencing:
- Depression or anxiety in response to a health crisis, such as a heart attack or recent diagnosis with a serious illness.
- High levels of stress that affect your ability to take good care of yourself or hurt your enjoyment of day-to-day life.
- Emotional distress that affects your sleep or triggers symptoms such as headaches or stomach problems.
- Difficulty changing health habits such as smoking, eating or exercise.
- Problems following your doctor’s advice for managing a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.
Health psychology services are often covered under the mental health benefit of your health insurance.
Support for weight management and bariatric surgery patients
If you are undergoing weight-loss surgery through the ChristianaCare Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, the Health Psychology team will provide a psychological assessment before the procedure and support services afterward. Our health psychologists also support people who are seeking help at the institute’s Weight Management Center and can provide consultations to patients who are having weight loss surgery at other hospitals.