Coping with Life-Threatening Illness or Dying

Most individuals suffering from life-threatening illnesses always end up in depression due to stress. Middle-aged adults, however, are known to cope with such conditions better than their younger counterparts. Scientists have conducted numerous researches to ascertain the relationship between the age of an individual and the individual’s ability to cope with stress, which comes with the knowledge that one is suffering from a disease, which doctors have no solution. Most studies have proven that while middle-aged adults reacted to the news of their mortality with lenient judgments, most young adults respond to similar news with harsh judgments of moral transgression.   

Young adults in such conditions show symptoms of emotional distress, including strong emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and anger. They are also likely to overreact to minor irritations, experience disturbed sleeping patterns, increased need for independence, caring for only what is immediately important, and self-absorption. Other common reactions include withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in previous hobbies, and difficulties with short term memory. Middle-aged adults, on the other hand, show no significant changes in their actions and are known to have better-coping strategies such as investigating how to increase their lives slightly.  Researchers believe that middle-aged adult’s lenient reaction is due to a confluence of factors, which make them adapt to the situation. The belief that they are closer to death, coupled with frequent reminders of death through the death of close relatives prepares them mentally. Furthermore, middle-aged adults are always coping with chronic illnesses and disabilities. It is, therefore, whereas most young adults view their mortality from an angle of hopelessness, middle-aged adults see their lives as having no problems. Young adults are most likely to commit suicide when they find themselves in such situations. It is, therefore, necessary that more research is done to help determine how older adults cope with their approaching mortality to help save young adults from earlier death.

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