Chronic illness


If you have an ongoing illness and you also have worries and anxiety, you have come to the right place. The type of illness you have, and the treatments you might need can cause you to worry and be anxious. If your symptoms interfere with your daily life and are a constant reminder that your life has changed or you can’t live the way you would like to, stress and anxiety can increase. Many other things will add to worry and anxiety also, like how long you have had a diagnosis for your illness, how much pain you are in and whether you have support around you.  

Explore the following pages to learn more about anxiety and worry, think about how anxiety affects you and find ways to help with worry and anxiety. Below are the definitions for worry, anxiety and anxiety disorders.  See if one sounds more like you. If you are unsure if you have anxiety or worry, go to our self-assessment pages to explore your thoughts and feelings further.

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Chronic illness

Professor Jane Fisher, Jean Hailes Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University and Dr Mandy Deeks, Psychologist have a conversation about anxiety and worry in women who are managing an ongoing illness.

How anxious do you feel?


Worry is about feeling concerned and out of sorts and a bit weighed down about some things but it has not taken over your day and you can see options and solutions.

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Anxiety is about feeling afraid about what will happen next and assuming it will be bad. It is an unpleasant, nervous feeling.

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Anxiety disorders

An anxiety disorder involves excessive or obsessive worrying and anxiety with a strong sense of fear about any uncertainties and the future. It severely affects your day-to-day living.

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Created on 18/08/2013 | Updated on 24/10/2017
References for this page

Not sure? Use our quick self assessment tool to check.

About Jean Hailes

Jean Hailes is Australia’s leading and most trusted women’s health organisation. We believe in physical and emotional health and wellbeing in all its dimensions for all women in Australia throughout their lives.

We offer a range of free resources and easy to understand information on women’s health and wellbeing. Appointments at our specialist women’s health clinics can be made in person (East Melbourne and Clayton, VIC) or across Australia via our Telehealth consultation service.

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