Heart Health

06 January 2009

The spouse: coping with denial

You know your partner is in denial when he/she refuses to believe that the heart attack actually happened. Psychologists would tell you that denial is one way to deal with trauma.

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You know your partner is in denial when he/she refuses to believe that the heart attack actually happened. Psychologists would tell you that denial is one way to deal with trauma.

Denial can be dangerous when lifestyle changes are necessary to regain health. But it can be tricky to handle since patients are often stubborn.

Try the following:

  • Ask a good friend or family member to talk some sense into your spouse.
  • Write a letter to your partner explaining how you feel. Ask him or her to make necessary, but realistic, changes.
  • Ask the whole family to join in explaining to your partner how you feel and how his or her denial is affecting you all.
  • Ask your doctor or rehabilitation nurse for help.
  • If you still struggle, you should seek professional help. Ask your doctor to refer you to a reputable clinical psychologist.

Source: “Heart attack: what now?” produced by Parke-Davis, courtesy of the Heart Foundation of South Africa.

- (Updated June 2008)

 

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