How Does Pain Affect Mental Health?

Pain is one of the most common reasons why people seek medical help. It’s the body’s signal to the mind that something is wrong. But when it’s a daily occurrence, pain can be easy to ignore. And when it’s not easy to ignore, it can be easy to put off addressing, especially when it becomes chronic. 

Chronic pain can slowly eat away at your day. As your pain persists, the background stress you’re dealing with regularly whittles away at what you’re able, willing, and excited to do. Neglecting this pain leads to adverse effects such as depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. 

What Is Chronic Pain?

The difference between chronic pain and temporary, or “acute,” pain is that acute pain typically passes relatively quickly, while chronic pain persists for much longer. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. It can be caused by a variety of conditions.

Chronic pain is a prevalent issue for most people. A survey done in 2019 suggests that over 50 million American adults suffer from chronic pain.

That’s nearly 20% of the population!

Chronic pain can significantly impact those who are affected by it, making it difficult to work, socialize, and even sleep.

Acute pain can become chronic if it is not treated properly or if the underlying cause is not resolved. For example, if you have an injury that doesn’t heal properly, the pain can become chronic.

Chronic pain can also be caused by conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis.

Symptoms of Chronic Pain

The symptoms of chronic pain vary from person to person. Some people may only experience a mild ache, while others may have severe pain that prevents them from doing everyday activities.

The intensity of chronic pain can also change over time. It may be constant, or it may come and go.

Some of the most common symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems

If chronic pain goes untreated, it can have a lasting effect on your physical health and your mental health.

Negative Effects of Chronic Pain on Mental Health

Chronic pain can lead to several mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

A study done by Mental Health America found that:

  • 79% of people with arthritis or other chronic pain screened positive or moderate to severe for a mental health condition.
  • Chronic pain was linked to worsened mental health status across various mental health conditions, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.
  • Those who suffered from chronic pain and served in the military saw an increase in PTSD compared to those who didn’t. 

The relationship between chronic pain and mental health is complex. Chronic pain can cause mental health problems and vice versa. For example, someone suffering from depression may be more likely to experience chronic pain.

Depression is a common problem for people with chronic pain. It can make the pain worse and make it harder to cope with the condition. It has also been linked to an increased risk of suicide.

Anxiety can also be associated with chronic pain. The anxiety may be caused by the fear of the pain getting worse or the fear of not being able to cope with the pain.

Stress, while standard for most humans, can be elevated through chronic pain. Stress can make the pain worse and make it harder to cope with the condition. It can also lead to other problems, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

Treating Mental Health Problems Caused by Chronic Pain

There are many ways to treat mental health problems caused by chronic pain. The most important thing is to get help from a mental health professional.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can treat depression, anxiety, and stress. CBT involves helping you manage your thoughts and emotions more positively. It can also help you change the way you respond to pain.

Medication can also be used to treat mental health problems caused by chronic pain.

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and antipsychotic medication can all help treat the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Still, medication can also take a while before it really starts working, and can lead to negative side effects.

Making lifestyle changes can also help improve mental health problems caused by chronic pain. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and healthy eating can all help to improve your mental health.

Closing Thoughts

While standard treatments may take weeks to yield results, ketamine infusion therapy often provides relief after one treatment. Ketamine therapy works primarily on two different mechanisms in the brain: glutamate and NMDA pain receptors. In clinically administered doses, ketamine infusions excite the neurotransmitter and glutamate, and inhibit NMDA receptors. This unique process dulls pain and generates new neural growth in the brain associated with better mood regulation and stress adaptation.

Luvita offers real solutions for real relief. Mental health disorders and chronic pain can be debilitating, but they no longer have to be. With the innovative treatments offered here at Luvita, we can help you find relief that lasts.

Call Luvita to get started on your new journey to better wellness.

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