In this article, you’ll learn and discover the overcoming the psychological impact of chronic pain.
Living with chronic pain is no easy feat. It requires more than taking medication to get relief from. When diagnosed with a condition with chronic pain as a symptom, your entire life is impacted. This is especially true for your mental health. Experiencing a high level of pain 24/7 will definitely take a toll on your psyche. This, in turn, can intensify your pain causing a terrible pattern.
Psychological Impact of Chronic Pain
How, exactly does being in physical pain cause you mental distress? Below are a few examples.
When you’re in pain all the time it makes it hard to do anything. You stop sleeping well, eating, socializing, and even performing well in the workplace. The thought of living with this pain forever can also lead you to feel sad and hopeless for long periods of time. These things combined can quickly lead to depression.
The average adult needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function properly. An individual suffering from chronic pain, however, may find it challenging to get a good night’s sleep. The pain or stress of how it has impacted your life can keep you up at night causing you to lose hours and even days of sleep. When this happens you find that you have very little energy, you can’t focus, you’re forgetful and much more. Prolonged insomnia can also lead to mental illness including anxiety or depression.
Anxiety is a state of intense fear or nervousness. Those who have chronic pain tend to worry a great deal. They stress over everything from how much pain they’re into how their condition will impact their personal relationships.
Different than feeling tired or having insomnia, when a person is fatigued or exhausted, even sleep doesn’t resolve the issue. They can sleep all day long and wake up still feeling tired – if not worse. Fatigue and exhaustion don’t just apply to your physical being, it can also refer to how you’re feeling mentally. You simply feel taxed and overwhelmed or drained.
Last, but not least, chronic pain can bring about feelings of guilt. Your condition makes it difficult for you to do certain things which can cause you to feel bad. Maybe you’re not able to pick up your baby because you’ve just had back surgery so you feel guilty or you feel bad that you can’t work and help out with the bills.
Coping With the Emotional Impact of Chronic Pain
As you can see, chronic pain can greatly impact your mental health. Some people report suffering from depression or anxiety. Others who aren’t in tune with their emotional well-being begin to self-medicate as a means to cope. They drink, use drugs, or take more of their pain medications than prescribed which essentially leads to addiction or even worse – drug overdose. That’s why it is extremely important to put practices like this into place to overcome the psychological impact of chronic pain:
One of the first things you want to do is try to eliminate your fear to reduce the chances of developing an anxiety disorder. Once you’ve been to the doctor and gotten diagnosed, ask questions to learn everything you can about your condition. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it can help to ease your fears later on.
Meditation is a great way to relieve chronic pain and overwhelming emotions. Through practiced deep breathing meditation helps to reduce stress levels (stress is a huge factor in pain) which improves the mood and is known to reduce inflammation.
Find Things You Enjoy
Though your chronic pain may make it difficult to do certain things, there are still activities you can engage in to bring you joy. Sometimes having fun alone, with friends, or family can make you forget all about your pain while enhancing your mood.
If you’re really having a hard time coping with your condition, the pain, or your life, as a result, you should seek counseling. A therapist can help you to learn how to overcome your fears, put your anxieties to rest, and learn how to create a new normal that still enables you to have a good life.
Chronic pain can be physically crippling, but this physical pain can quickly manifest to emotional trauma. Though it’s normal to feel down about being in pain, allowing yourself to remain in this state for too long could lead to other issues like mental illness or substance abuse. To overcome the emotional impact of your medical condition it is necessary to make a daily effort using suggestions like those described above.