Is Your Chronic Pain Causing a Mood Disorder?

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Pain Management

Pain is more than a physical sensation, especially when it persists over a long period, like chronic pain; it is an emotional condition, too. As a result, a wide range of mental and behavioral changes can occur, including withdrawal, immobility, anxiety and drug dependence.

It is a lot like depression in these regards. Depression is a cause and a symptom of pain; thus, it follows that depression would have a similar effect. According to Harvard News, those with depression are three times more likely to develop chronic pain than the general population, and those with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop mental symptoms, most commonly mood or anxiety disorders.

How Does Pain Cause Mental Health Disorders?

Persistent discomfort can have a wide range of psychological and emotional effects. When a person is in pain, they are more likely to experience, in addition to the obvious bodily manifestations, the following:

  • Sleep disruption
  • Higher stress hormones levels
  • Fatigue
  • Lower physical performance capabilities
  • Lack of motivation
  • Issues with relationships

All these symptoms affect mood. These problems may serve as the catalyst for a depressed episode, from which recovery can be extremely challenging.

Pain and Depression

Depression treatment is hampered by pain, and vice versa. Pain and sadness are particularly vicious because they reinforce each other by altering cognitive and behavioral processes. Pain induces immobility, which in turn fosters more pain, just as depression breeds isolation, which in turn breeds even more depression. Most of the suffering that contributes to depression is alleviated when the underlying cause of that depression is addressed, and depression treatment typically reduces pain.

Fibromyalgia is an Example of the Connection Between Pain and Mood Disorders

Diseases like fibromyalgia may serve as examples of the biochemical connections between pain and depression. Muscle discomfort and tenderness at specific pressure locations are typical symptoms, although there is no indication of tissue injury. People living with fibromyalgia have abnormally active pain centers in their brains, and the disorder is more strongly linked to depression than any other medical condition. A dysfunction in the brain that increases emotional and physical sensitivity may be at the root of fibromyalgia.

Treating Pain and Its Accompanying Mood Disorder Simultaneously

Chronic pain is a terrible experience in and of itself, but if it comes with the additional and sometimes more debilitating side effect of mental disorders, it is unbearable.

The pain doctors at Allied Pain & Spine Institute are cognizant of their patients’ psychological and physiological interrelationships. Mood disorders caused by pain are not an independent illness. We take a fresh approach to healthcare by providing comprehensive plans that address physical and mental health. Contact us to schedule a consultation and be one step closer to feeling better physically and mentally.