Life with a feeling of constant pain is a terrible burden. But, if depression also joins the feeling of pain, then this burden becomes even more terrible.
Depression increases pain. She makes life with pain unbearable. But the good news is that these states can be divided. Effective medications and psychotherapy help get rid of depression, which in turn makes the pain more tolerable.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is a pain that lasts much longer than simple pain. If the sense of pain becomes permanent, the body may react to it differently. The phenomenon of chronic pain can be described as abnormal processes in the brain, low energy levels, mood swings, muscle pain and a decrease in the capacity of the brain and the body. The condition of chronic pain worsens as neurochemical changes in the body increase susceptibility to pain. The overwhelming feeling of pain causes irritability, depression and can lead to suicide of those who no longer believe in the possibility of getting rid of pain.
What are the effects of depression on the background of chronic pain?
If you suffer from chronic pain and at the same time, suffer from depression, then you are in an uneasy state. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that accompany chronic pain. Often it worsens the patient’s condition and the course of his treatment. Below are some statistics:
- According to the American Pain Association, about 32 million people in the United States had pain that didn’t go beyond a year
- Half of US residents who went to the doctor with the problem of severe pain were depressed
- On average, about 65% of people with depression complain of pain
- People whose pain limits their independence are also likely to fall ill with depression
Since depression in patients with chronic pain goes unnoticed, it, accordingly, remains without proper treatment. Painful symptoms and complaints of the patient, occupy all the attention of the doctor. As a result, the patient develops a state of depression, sleep is disturbed, the patient loses his appetite, energy and reduces physical exertion, which provokes pain.
Is depression and pain a vicious circle?
Pain causes every person an emotional reaction. If you feel pain it is most likely that you also feel anxiety, irritability and agitation. And these are normal feelings when feeling pain. Usually, when the pain subsides, the emotional response subsides.
But with chronic pain, you feel constant tension and stress. Over time, a constant state of stress translates into various mental disorders associated with depression. Symptoms common to chronic pain and depression include:
- Mood Swings
- Constant anxiety
- Confused thoughts
- Reduced self-esteem
- Family Stress
- Fear get hurt
- Worry about financial situation
- Worry about legal issues
- Physical deterioration
- Decreased sexual activity
- Sleep disturbance
- Social self-isolation
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Concern about work
Why does depression (almost all points) coincide with chronic pain?
Some of the coincidences of these diseases can be explained with the help of biology. Depression and chronic pain depend on the same neurotransmitter – a chemical produced in the brain that travels between nerve cells. Depression and pain also have common nerve cells.
The effects of chronic pain on a person’s life can also cause depression. Chronic pain can give you strength to fight life losses, such as losing sleep, social life, personal relationships, sexual opportunities, loss of work, or income. These same life losses can cause you to become depressed.
In this case, depression increases the feeling of pain and reduces the ability to deal with these problems. If you used to deal with stress with the help of exercise, then with chronic pain, you can not do it.
Scientists compared people with chronic pain and depression to those who suffer only from chronic pain, without showing symptoms of depression, and found the following facts. People with chronic pain reported:
- More pain
- Inability to control your life
- Unhealthy methods of dealing with the disease
Since depression and chronic pain are closely related to each other, they are often treated together. Moreover, it has been proven that a certain medicine can treat both depression and pain.
Is there a cure for depression and chronic pain that can be consumed throughout life?
Both chronic pain and depression can last a lifetime. Accordingly, the best medicine for both diseases is one that can be taken all my life.
Since there is a relationship between these diseases, it is natural and the treatment should be interrelated.
Can antidepressants relieve pain and depression?
Since pain and depression are caused by the same nerve endings and neurotransmitters, antidepressants are used in the treatment of both conditions. Antidepressants affect the brain to reduce the pain threshold.
There is much evidence of the effectiveness of tricyclic antidepressants, such as Evalin and doxepin. However, due to side effects, their use is often limited. Recently released antidepressants, selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (Cymbalta, Effexor), give good results with minor side effects.
How can you relieve pain and depression through exercise?
Most people with chronic pain avoid playing sports. But, if you do not play sports, the risk of injury or increased pain increases. Playing sports is one of the most important stages of treatment, but with the condition that the exercises were chosen by you under the supervision of your doctor.
Exercise is also a good treatment for depression, because it has the same effect as antidepressants.
What role does the feeling of control over the situation and life play in treatment?
Chronic pain can change the usual way of life, the ability to work or do something you love. This entails a change in self-esteem – and not for the better, because the patient feels a victim of pain and depression.
It is very important not to isolate yourself from social life, which will give a sense of control over your own life. It is also very important that the attending physician does not perceive you as a victim, but treats you as a healthy person.
How does psychotherapy help with chronic pain and depression?
Studies have shown that in some people, after a course of psychotherapy, chronic pain has decreased.
Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy. It is to teach the patient to notice those negative thoughts that manifest themselves with the feeling of pain. These thoughts very often distort reality. The essence of cognitive therapy is to change these negative thoughts and, thus, alleviate the feeling of pain.
This type of psychotherapy is also effective in treating depression, reducing the feeling of anxiety in chronic pain.
What is the best way to treat chronic pain and depression?
The best way to achieve a positive result in treatment is, together with your doctor, to choose the most appropriate treatment plan for you. If chronic pain is accompanied by depression, then a doctor’s consultation is simply necessary.
When you see a doctor, be sure to tell them you want to control your pain. And remember that the basis of the ideal treatment plan is its multifunctionality, that is, it should affect all aspects of life affected by pain.
Give yourself the opportunity to learn everything about your illness by following the information provided by the American Association of Patients with Chronic Pain, the American Foundation for Pain, and the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Take an active part in drawing up a treatment plan until you feel that you are in complete control of your life and can continue to do your favorite activities.
Find the best specialist in your area with experience in treating chronic pain. The above associations and foundations will assist you in choosing such a specialist.