Individual Counseling: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Individual counseling is often beneficial to anyone dealing with breast cancer and the trials it can leave behind. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and its impact. We don’t typically link mental health to a cancer diagnosis, but the two are more interconnected than you may think. 

Individual counseling is available at Take Charge, Inc. in Johnson County to help you learn to identify and recover from various types of traumas – including PTSD from medical trauma. People have strong emotional responses to a breast cancer diagnosis with feelings of fear, anger, grief, shock, disbelief, anxiety, or even numbness or relief that the cancer has been found. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed by a diagnosis like that of breast cancer or cancer of any kind. The great amount of changes associated with cancer, not to mention the treatments, can be painful and traumatic. Post-traumatic stress disorder – PTSD, is experienced by a traumatic event, including a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Symptoms may reappear after many years or may not appear for the first time until years after the event. It is critical to understand how this trauma impacts us and address it in individual counseling.

PTSD can make it difficult for people to function or manage daily tasks. As we learn about how PTSD affects the brain through individual counseling, we can learn how to address and attend to them.  Mental health specialists categorize symptoms into four different types: 

  • Re-Experiencing: This is when a person relives a traumatic event through intrusive and distressing flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Avoidance: When someone becomes emotionally numb and avoids places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma they experienced. Often experienced by disassociating or going away when talking about it.  Can include not being able to physically feel your body. 
  • Hyperarousal: This shows when a person has difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feels jumpy or frightened, and is easily irritated or angered.
  • Negative Changes in Mood: When a person feels cut off from other people. They tend to experience negative changes in mood, ways of thinking, or remembering – especially when it relates to their trauma. 

The stress of a breast cancer diagnosis may lead some women to engage in behaviors that threaten their recovery. Things like not getting proper exercise or nutrition, isolating from family and friends, or attempting to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances. In some women it can lead to serious depression. Depression and PTSD can have a dramatic impact on recovery. Individual counseling is essential to increase the chances of survival and navigate this tough time together

As the patient goes through most times a lengthy and difficult treatment, additional problems tend to arise in their personal relationships as well. They feel tired and are often sick, which affects their work, friendships, and relationships alike. Financial issues, one of the most common stressors right now, are a hefty part of a breast cancer diagnosis. The person diagnosed with cancer is also not the only one who experiences everything as are family and friends. Individual counseling is the best way to address these problems and create better ways of handling them to allow your body to keep healing as well. Take Charge Inc. services Overland Park, and the Johnson County, Leawood and Olathe areas. 

As a thriver of a breast cancer diagnosis Terri knows the journey of healing from a cancer diagnosis.  For more information about individual counseling, call Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255 or to schedule an appointment, click here

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