oa South African Family Practice - Becoming the illness : "What you think, you become" - Buddha : peripheralia

Volume 57, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



One of the advantages of general practice is that one can observe patients over a long period. Every now and again, I have had the feeling that a few of my patients seem to have "become" their illnesses. When they started out, the condition and its symptoms were vague and unformed. Slowly, as more information was obtained and labels were applied, they began to identify with the labels and almost live them. If the mask is worn long enough, they say, it becomes the face.

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