The Brain-Body Connection: Is Chronic Pain Affecting Your Mental Health?
The short answer is yes – chronic pain is often associated with mental illness. This correlation doesn’t mean that your pain is in your head, or that depression caused your chronic ailment – but it could mean that you should consider mental wellness treatment to be part of your protocol to help manage your symptoms.
Studies have linked depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and addictions to the occurrence of chronic pain. They’ve also found that chronic pain patients are often not treated for their mental illness, which can exasperate the issue, and lead to complications.
People who experience chronic pain are also more at risk for suicidal behavior. There are many reasons why this may occur, but one of the biggest factors to mention is a lack of hope for a pain-free life. However, with proper treatment, hope can be restored.
Take the First Step, and Talk to Your Doctor
It’s important to let your doctor know about all of your symptoms, and that includes those that are detrimental to your emotional well-being. Talk to your doctor if you’re feeling depressed, anxious, having trouble sleeping, or any other emotional extremes. They can direct you towards resources that can alleviate your suffering both mentally and physically.
Believing in Your Game Plan
When you receive treatment for your chronic pain, it can be exhaustive. You may have to try multiple types of therapy before you find the one that works for your condition. Maintain hope that you will find a treatment that works for your pain, and in the meantime, talk to your doctor about managing your pain effectively so it’s not always on your mind.
Find Group Support
When you’re suffering from chronic pain, it can feel lonely. It seems like the rest of the world is moving on around you, while you wake up daily with the struggle of a chronic condition that is frustrating on multiple levels. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone – there are people all around you, and all around the world, who are also experiencing pain each day. Find groups that help you share the burden of pain. You can ask your doctor about local groups, but you may have more luck finding them on the Internet. Online forums also allow for anonymity, so you can feel free to share without worrying about what people think.
Don’t Underestimate Therapy
A good therapist, who matches with your personality, can take time to find – but it’s worth the search. They can provide emotional support to help you manage your daily life as you deal with your chronic pain, and may also be able to provide you with tips that help you reduce your suffering with mindful therapies.
It’s vitally important to seek help for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, especially when you are also dealing with a chronic pain condition. It can not only save your life, but it can help you thrive in the face of your adversity.