The life of a person who constantly feels pain turns into hell. When something hurts, without ceasing, the world around grows dim, loses all its colors, every new day no longer brings joy, and the person gradually sinks into depression. And this state does not bring anything good in itself – the pain only intensifies and life becomes completely unbearable. However, modern medicine offers patients with chronic pain in a state of depression effective treatments. New medications and psychotherapy sessions relieve depression, and the pain becomes less severe.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
Chronic pain differs from normal pain in that it lasts for a long time and can gradually become permanent. The body’s response to constant pain can be completely different and unpredictable. In chronic pain, brain processes change, become abnormal, energy levels decrease, mood changes occur frequently, and the capacity and activity of the brain drops sharply.
The neurochemical processes in the body gradually change, and the person feels pain more and more. This state makes the patient irritable, drives him into depression, suicidal thoughts begin to visit him, the belief that pain can ever get rid of is lost.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEPRESSION ON THE BACKGROUND OF CHRONIC PAIN?
People with chronic pain aggravated by a depressive state are in a very difficult situation. The fact is that depression is considered the most common mental disorder in chronic pain, and it often worsens a person’s well-being, preventing effective treatment.
The American Association conducted statistical research in this area and found that thirty-two million people living in America suffered from chronic pain throughout the year. Half of the patients who presented with severe pain experienced depression. Pain is present in 65% of depressed patients.
Very often, doctors make the same mistake – they pay attention only to the patient’s complaints related to pain, but his depressed state goes unnoticed. The result is obvious – the patient develops depression, he stops sleeping, eating, moving, and the pain intensifies.
DEPRESSION AND PAIN IS A CIRCLE?
Any pain makes a person react emotionally. The onset of pain is always accompanied by agitation, irritability and anxiety. And this is a normal reaction to pain. Moreover, as the pain sensation subsides, the emotional state gradually calms down. This is not the case with chronic pain. Due to the fact that it is almost constantly present in a person, the stressful state of stress also does not pass. And this eventually leads to various mental disorders, including depression.
Chronic pain and depression have a number of common symptoms. These include: frequent mood swings; constant feelings of anxiety and anger; low self-esteem; family problems; chronic fatigue; confused thoughts; fear of physical injury; restless thoughts about finances, your work; increased irritability; insomnia; decreased libido; withdrawal from social activity; a sharp increase in body weight or its decrease.
WHY DOES DEPRESSION (ALMOST ALL ITEMS) COINCIDE WITH CHRONIC PAIN?
The similarity in the symptoms of chronic pain and depression can be explained very simply – the brain produces a chemical (neurotransmitter) that travels through nerve cells. And these diseases have common nerve cells.
Chronic pain has a very strong effect on a person’s life processes. People suffering from chronic pain lose a lot in their lives: they cannot sleep normally, they have to change jobs, family relationships often deteriorate, sexual activity is not what it used to be, and social life is also changing. Such changes and losses cannot pass without a trace for a person: some patients find the strength to fight it, but many simply go into depression.
If we draw a comparison between patients with chronic pain and depression and those who have only pain syndrome without a depressive state, then we can see the following: the first group of people suffers from the most severe pain, they cannot control their lives, and often try to fight the disease in unhealthy ways. …
Since chronic pain and depression are closely related, they are treated in a complex manner. There are even medications that treat both pain and depression at the same time.
IS THERE SUCH A MEDICINE FOR DEPRESSION AND CHRONIC PAIN THAT CAN BE USED FOR A LIFETIME?
Due to the fact that the state of depression and chronic pain can last for years, often even throughout life, then a medicine must be selected that can be taken, without serious consequences for the body, also all life. And such drugs exist. Keep in mind that treating chronic pain must go hand in hand with treating depression.
CAN ANTI-DEPRESSANTS RELIEVE PAIN AND DEPRESSION?
As we said above, pain and depression have a common source, namely the same neurotransmitters and nerve endings. Therefore, in the case of chronic pain, and in the case of depression, antidepressants help well. The main task of antidepressants is to change the way the brain works so that the body’s pain threshold is reduced. Tricyclic antidepressants (Doxepin, Evalin) have long been proven effective. But they have a lot of side effects that have made their use limited. But medicine does not stand still. And today there are already new generation antidepressants such as Effexor and Cymbalta, which are very successful in the treatment of chronic pain and depression, and their side effects are very minor.
HOW CAN I RELIEVE PAIN AND DEPRESSION WITH EXERCISE?
For many people with chronic pain, physical activity is reduced. They fear that playing sports will only exacerbate the pain or lead to injury. In fact, this is a big mistake. And everything is quite the opposite – it is the rejection of physical activity that increases the likelihood of injury and increased pain. Moderate exercise, with the permission and close supervision of a physician, is perhaps the most important element in the comprehensive management of chronic pain and depression.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE SENSE OF CONTROL OVER THE SITUATION AND LIFE PLAY IN TREATMENT?
With the onset of chronic pain, a person’s life often changes dramatically, and not for the better. These changes significantly affect the patient’s self-esteem – he begins to feel like a victim, cornered by pain and depression. And here the most important thing is not to lose control over yourself and your life. To do this, try not to avoid social activity and communication with other people, do not isolate yourself from society.
HOW DOES PSYCHOTHERAPY HELP FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND DEPRESSION?
Psychotherapy sessions play an important role in the treatment of chronic pain. And the most popular type of such therapy is cognitive. In cognitive therapy sessions, the doctor teaches the patient to get rid of all negative thoughts and emotions that arise with severe pain. The negative state of a person often distorts the surrounding reality for him. And the task of the course of cognitive therapy is for a person to learn to think differently, thereby alleviating his condition. Also, psychotherapy is good for depression, it removes anxiety, depression and allows you to regain control over your life.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TREAT CHRONIC PAIN AND DEPRESSION?
Every person suffering from chronic pain wants to know: how to alleviate their condition and how to achieve a positive effect from treatment? There is only one answer – first, contact a good and competent specialist, especially if chronic pain is accompanied by depression. Do not try to cope with your condition on your own and alone – only a doctor can develop an ideal treatment plan. After all, effective treatment and regaining control over your life can only be obtained using a comprehensive treatment that affects all aspects of your illness – both chronic pain and depression.