Pain so often is accompanied by loss—loss of function, loss of employment, loss of money, loss of friends and relationships to name just a few—it’s no wonder that people in chronic pain have an increased incidence of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. It is natural to feel emotions ranging from fear, anger, denial, disappointment, guilt, and loneliness to hope and optimism. Every person reacts differently to pain at different times, which can make relationships and pain control difficult. The effect emotions and psychosocial well being have on pain cannot be ignored as emotions have a direct effect on your health. Taking care of the emotional aspects of chronic pain is necessary to treat your overall pain condition.
The articles listed below offer insight into the psychology of pain and the options available to persons in pain and hopefully the reassurance that you are not alone.
The Relationship Between Pain, Depression and Mood: An Interview with Rollin Gallagher, MD, MPH
Dr. Gallagher discusses the relationship between mood and pain, available treatments, and the things a person in pain can do to mitigate his or her depression.
The Link Between Pain and Depression
Pain and depression are inexorably linked in a complex way in your brain. Pain and pain-related disability affect mood — mood affects pain and pain-related disability. To successfully treat your chronic pain, you and your physician need to examine the emotional factors that may influence your pain level and physical disability. Read more about how pain and depression are connected and how to recognize symptoms in yourself.
Looking Beyond the Pain: The Role of Psychological Assessment in Medical Treatment
Don’t be offended if your doctor asks questions about your mental state—part of treating pain is relieving emotional symptoms related to pain. Conditions like anxiety and depression significantly affect how well a patient responds to pain treatment. Learn more about the important role psychological assessment plays in treating pain.
Pain and Depression
This article is adapted from a lecture given by NPF Board member Dr. Michael Loes.
Psychological Factors Related to Pain
Dr. Mark Disorbio outlines how pain is both a physical and psychological experience.