Denial of illness: a reappraisal.


The authors attempt to understand the nature of denial of illness by an examination of two patients with serious and disfiguring physical disorders who postponed medical treatment for over a decade. Both patients subsequently had dramatic negative reactions to the therapeutic efforts of physicians caring for them. Various social, experiential, and characterologic determinants are discussed. In addition, the authors argue that the illness served important organizing functions: it sheltered these patients from the exigencies of everyday life; it allowed them to defeat the physician's efforts to effect a cure; and, finally, the disfigured physical state appeared to correspond to their internalized defective self-image and self-esteem.

Cite this paper

@article{Douglas1987DenialOI, title={Denial of illness: a reappraisal.}, author={Carolyn J Douglas and Richard G. Druss}, journal={General hospital psychiatry}, year={1987}, volume={9 1}, pages={53-7} }