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6 Steps to Care for Your Mental Health After a New Diagnosis

By Carol Caffin
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
January 20, 2023

No matter how strong, resilient, or pragmatic you are, being diagnosed with a chronic condition can cause some emotional turmoil.

While there’s no one “normal” reaction to a new diagnosis, there is a range of common reactions, including shock, grief, anger, confusion, anxiety, and depression. “There is a lot of variability in how people adjust to a new diagnosis and live with chronic conditions,” says Abbey Hughes, Ph.D., a rehabilitation psychologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Baltimore.

Not all initial reactions are negative, however. “Sometimes,” Hughes says, “there’s a sense of relief or clarity for people who are diagnosed after years of not knowing what’s wrong.”