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Coping With Crohn's Disease Book Review

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Updated May 19, 2012

Coping With Crohn's Disease

Manage Your Physical Symptoms and Overcome the Emotional Challenges by Amy B. Trachter, Psy.D., Ph.D.

Photo © New Harbinger Publications
Coping With Crohn's Disease by Amy B. Trachter is an easy-to-read, all-purpose guide for patients dealing with the emotional side of Crohn's disease. The feelings that people with Crohn's disease have for their disease (such as denial, anger, anxiety, and depression) are frequently glossed-over in other books.

The Basics of Crohn's Disease

The book starts with the basics of Crohn's disease, including the different medical terms that may be used to describe where the disease is located in the digestive tract. Trachter then moves on to physical symptoms, and the emotional response to those symptoms and the diagnosis.

Chapter 2 is dedicated to another practical but often-overlooked topic -- relationships with medical professionals. Trachter doesn't shy away from offering suggestions on how to get along with doctors, office staff, and nurses, as well as when second opinions might be appropriate.

Treating Crohn's disease both medically and surgically are the subjects of chapters 3 and 4. The many medications used to treat Crohn's disease are all discussed briefly along with tips on handling the side effects. Trachter goes on to talk about surgical procedures for Crohn's and how to cope with hospitalization.

Coping strategies for the physical symptoms of Crohn's disease is the subject of the next chapter. Trachter offers an overview of a variety of techniques to help with symptoms such as relaxation, exercise, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

Dealing With Emotions Around Crohn's Disease

The second part of the book deals with the emotional side of Crohn's disease. Trachter takes the reader through the journey to discovering how life will change with the diagnosis of Crohn's disease. The first chapter focuses on reconciling the disease with the person and discovering a "new self."

The next chapter in this section concentrates on a sticky question for anyone with a chronic illness -- "To Tell or Not to Tell." Trachter presents compelling reasons for situations where disclosing medical history is, and is not, appropriate. For instance, physicians will obviously need to know, but acquaintances may not.

How other people will react to the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatments of Crohn's and where to get social support are the topics of the next two chapters. Trachter points out the impact the disease will have on friends and partners, and suggests coping strategies to keep the lines of communication open. Support groups are a way to meet other patients, get tips on adjusting to life with Crohn's disease, learn about new treatment techniques, and vent feelings.

The last chapter in the book is on nutrition and how it relates to Crohn's disease. Nutritional complications such as malabsorbtion are overviewed, as well as roadblocks to developing healthy eating patterns.

At the end of the book Trachter includes a short glossary, additional reading resources, and several pages of references.

Mission Accomplished

Trachter's book achieves exactly what it sets out to do -- provide help for patients with Crohn's disease to deal with their disease effectively. By using examples Trachter demonstrates that the emotionally charged situations people with Crohn's disease encounter can be constructively navigated.
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