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Book and Media Reviews
March 21, 2007

The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Fishbein Fellow, JAMA.

JAMA. 2007;297(11):1259-1263. doi:10.1001/jama.297.11.1259-a

Four feelings commonly accompany serious illness: betrayal, terror, loss, and loneliness. Of these 4 emotions, loneliness just might be the toughest to handle. The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness emphasizes the connection between loneliness (often misdiagnosed as depression) and sickness: “Loneliness is the universal comorbidity of illness.” The book is composed of 4 sections that analyze a specific emotional reaction to illness. Each segment incorporates the pertinent story of a particular patient. The author also weaves the account of his brother-in-law's death from cancer into the general discussion.

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