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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 580175, 9 pages
Research Article

Struggling on My Own: A Cognitive Perspective on Frequent Attenders' Conception of Life and Their Interaction with the Healthcare System

School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Box 883, 721 23 Västerås, Sweden

Received 30 December 2012; Revised 11 March 2013; Accepted 26 March 2013

Academic Editor: C. Robert Cloninger

Copyright © 2013 Lena Wiklund-Gustin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Different studies reveal that a large percentage of people frequently attending healthcare not only suffer from diffuse somatic symptoms but also from psychological distress and difficulties in dealing with everyday life. Even though they are not always diagnosed with psychiatric disease, questions arise about their mental health. The study aims at describing frequent attenders’ conceptions of life, and as a result their health, from a cognitive perspective. A qualitative content analysis of in-depth interviews was carried out with nine service users in primary healthcare. The findings reveal that participants experience themselves as inadequate and as being a burden for others, by whom they experience rejection, in different ways. In order to take part in community with others the person develops compensatory strategies that aim at concealing their inadequacies, thus also preventing them from sharing their suffering with others. The consequence is that the persons become even more alienated as they start to relate to others through a façade and furthermore are unable to either improve their health or obtain adequate care. It can be concluded that these patients need to be taken seriously in order to prevent further psychological suffering.