Psychological Effects of Asthma on Children

Every child’s experience with asthma is unique. Nonetheless, there are some common psychological effects, which children with asthma exhibit (Bock and Stauth, 2008). The diagnosis of asthma in a child can cause stress, sentiments of anger, mental shock, sorrow, distress, fear, anxiety, and depression

Fear and anxiety

First of all, asthma in children often leads to anxiety and fear. This culminates from the inability of the victim to breath. Failure to breathe is terribly upsetting, especially to children because it makes them feel like they are going to die. The imagination of being dead is a dreadful experience to children (The University of Chicago, 2007). Due to asthma’s unpredictable nature, many children become stressed by the sheer thought of another episode. As a result, the feeling that another episode may occur any time may cause a child to be overly anxious.

Loss of control

Asthma that has not been effectively controlled can make a child loose control in life. Since asthma is a daily care is a continuous and daily activity, a child who needs care but lacks it may loose control of is or her life. To overcome this problem, a child might be compelled to exert more control over other areas of life, and this might be disastrous to the child’s life.

Depression and isolation

Due to the shame over their condition, many children become depressed. As compared to their non-asthmatic friends, asthmatic children are unable to involve themselves in physical activities. As a result, such children feel isolated from their peers, which lead to withdrawal. Thereafter, depression follows because the child will feel isolated or unwanted because of his or her condition. Moreover, the laborious process of treating asthma can be very distressing to a child.

Denial and Guilt

As discussed earlier, being diagnosed with asthma comes with a lot of fear and anxiety. To deal with the anxiety and fear, a child will use denial as a mechanism of dealing with the fear and anxiety. It is very unfortunate that living in denial impacts the emotions of a child. On the same breath, this ailment may make a child to feel guilty. This unjustifiable guilt culminates from the belief that the unjustifiable suffering is a result of the punishment for either the parent’s or the victims past sins.

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Eiser (2006) is of the opinion that when an illness prevents a child from taking part in things that other children do, he or she could become angry and frustrated.  To reinforce such restrictions, parents may prevent their children from being involved in such events. In retaliation, many children become defiant to their parents. They may end up participating in such events oblivious of the consequences.

Embarrassment and confusion

To most children, the feeling of being different to those around them is very uncomfortable. Some aspects, which are associated with asthma such as avoiding triggers, using inhalers, accompanied with asthma symptoms can make a child fell set apart or conspicuous from other children. Eiser (2006) argues that such feelings can be very difficult for children, and as a result, they end up feeling embarrassed. On the other hand, the initial phases of asthma diagnosis can be very confusing to a child. The information given is usually overwhelming to small children.

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Other psycho-social reactions of children towards asthma include low self-esteem, fear of rejection, fear of restrictions imposed by the condition, and insecurity resulting to limited educational prospects.  Moreover, victims of asthma become hyper vigilant. In such cases, a child may be alarmed by small and usual body changes such as heart beating rates. This results from a child being overly focused on when another episode may occur.

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