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How Chronic Pain Affects Your Mental Health

How Chronic Pain Affects Your Mental Health

depressed woman looking out of windowFor those suffering from chronic pain, learning how to manage the physical symptoms is often just the beginning of a complex journey toward healthy living. Persistent bodily pain can easily take a toll on your mental health, leading to unpleasant changes in mood, behavior and overall state of mind.

Chronic Pain and Mental Health

For example, a common emotion that tends to accompany chronic pain is isolation—after all, your pain may be causing you to spend a lot of time alone, stay in bed longer than usual, cancel plans with friends or take time off work. It can seem like everyone around you is functioning at a higher, happier level, leading a painless and carefree life. Even though this is likely not the case, isolation and other reactive emotions can give rise to these conclusions.

Not only is “feeling down” a natural response to ongoing pain, but a substantial amount of research has explored the connection between chronic pain and depressive disorders. Additionally, there are several types of illnesses and/or medications of which anxiety and depression are common side effects.

Since physical ailments are typically considered to be more pressing (and sometimes easier to treat) than mental health issues, it can be tempting to focus solely on the pain and ignore the need for therapeutic intervention. However, medical treatment for the injury or illness alone might not be enough.

Who Can Help?

A therapist who specializes in chronic pain management could be a key passenger on your road to recovery. For many, a trusted counselor can provide relief, healing and respite in a number of difficult situations related to chronic pain.

For instance, you may be someone with a list of painful symptoms and no official diagnosis. Some conditions take years to discover or properly assess, and it can be particularly frustrating to endure physical discomfort with no answers as to why. Or, you may simply wish to speak with an unbiased third-party—many individuals with chronic pain feel like a broken record, often worrying that they are burdening or bothering others by talking about it.

Ready to schedule an appointment? Westside Behavioral Care has several therapists specialized in chronic pain ready to assist you in Denver and nearby cities.