Psychological Defenses and Coping Styles in Patients Following a Life-Threatening Attack of Asthma: Discharge from hospital

Psychological Defenses and Coping Styles in Patients Following a Life-Threatening Attack of Asthma: Discharge from hospitalThe majority of the patients seen in this study were also interviewed with one or more members of their family. Chronic illnesses inevitably affect families, and chronic illnesses that occur in conjunction with life-threatening sudden exacerbations, cause considerable anxiety and anger, particularly when the patients themselves respond by denying their illness. Families of NMAD patients have often been with the patient while they were severely ill and have seen the effects of the patients asthma. This is in contrast, of course, to the patient who is often amnesic for the bulk of the near miss event itself. Several of the NMAD patients described in this study suffered significant family upheavals following their discharge from hospital with their families wanting to overprotect them, while they preferred to minimize their illness, with resultant anxiety and anger on all sides. More info

Anger tended to be repressed by the family for fear of upsetting the patient and exacerbating their asthma. One married woman found herself in a position of reverse caring for her young children who refused absolutely for some six months following their mothers NMAD to go to sleep before they knew that she was asleep. This was because her NMAD had taken place soon after the children had gone to bed. They had been awakened by the sound of resuscitation attempts in the corridor outside their room and had emerged to discover their mother, to their perception, blue and dead. A reverse situation occurred in the family of an adolescent who suffered a NMAD where an intense preoccupation developed within his family about his health leading to him becoming socially disabled because of the lack of independence that was granted to him. An interesting common effect on patients who were married was that their marital relationship improved following the NMAD with both partners becoming more aware of their mortality and their feelings towards each other. This was shown in an odd way by one husband of a female NMAD patient who stopped physically abusing her so frequently following her NMAD. She reported that,
“he joked to me that he’d tried rubbing me out and starting
again and that it hadn’t worked. He has been less violent since
the attack. He plays with me now by twisting my arm up my
back as a joke rather than by badly bruising me.”