A challenge to curing patients is that sometimes the illness itself prevents a patient from taking a cure.

Some examples:

  • Depression - lack of motivation and negative thinking prevent the patient from seeking help or carrying out their treatment.
  • Dementia - the patient may forget to carry out their treatment.
  • Anorexia/Paranoid Schizophrenia - part of the illness includes the belief that they are not ill and possibly even that doctors are working against them.
  • Any illness where the patient is too physically incapacitated to contact a doctor or carry out their treatment.

Is there a term for this problem?

  • It's kind of like a negative feedback loop, but I don't think that term is typically used for it. – Barmar Apr 7 '16 at 20:06
  • A curing patient is being roasted? – Lambie Apr 7 '16 at 22:43

Perhaps they are trapped in a cycle of decline.

But provided their condition is curable it is the job of a good doctor to get them out of it.


I'm not sure how well this fits your context of patients and treatments, but consider:

Vicious circleTFD

  1. A situation in which the apparent solution of one problem in a chain of circumstances creates a new problem and increases the difficulty of solving the original problem.

  2. A condition in which a disorder or disease gives rise to another that subsequently affects the first.

Vicious cycleTFD

one trouble leads to another that aggravates the first

Self-fulfilling prophecyBusiness Dictionary

Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person's behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.

An employer who, for example, expects the employees to be disloyal and shirkers, will likely treat them in a way that will elicit the very response he or she expects.


I'd suggest self-perpetuating.

having a ​system that ​prevents ​change and ​produces new things that are very ​similar to the ​old ​ones

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