Depression and Pain - Discussion

A link between depression and pain exists quite simply because any form of pain or physical ailments will certainly affect a person’s state of mind and mood.

Physical illness, pain, and suffering that interfere with the normal functioning of a person are bound to have a negative impact on his emotional and mental status. This is mainly because good health and wellbeing are generally taken for granted. Thus, for someone enjoying good health, unexpected illnesses and ailments come as a rude shock, and one is generally not prepared to face the physical and emotional challenges involved.

Under the circumstances, if one has to go through chronic pain, one is bound to end up feeling depressed and suffer from major depressive episodes, and depression and pain together can certainly worsen one's woes.

People belonging to various age groups, ranging from children to senior citizens, go through physical pain, and learning to live with it can become extremely distressing. Besides the pain, one cannot continue to sustain a carefree lifestyle that one would have become used to; depending on others makes it even more difficult for people who have led an independent life.

All these factors contribute to severe depression and, in people suffering from chronic pain, the end is sometimes not in sight - this causes further emotional disturbance and overcoming the same can become extremely difficult. He or she can then sink deeper into depression and pain.

Various conditions like rheumatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus, painful bladder syndrome, etc, involve chronic pain and can be the starting point of a cycle of depression and pain. People suffering from these conditions often lose interest in all forms of physical activities, are not able to focus on work because of the pain, cannot sleep well for the same reasons, and ultimately lose all interest in life. They then start becoming extremely pessimistic and negative.

Thus, along with the physical problem, the psychological balance is tipped and one tends to get increasingly depressed. Since friends and family often concentrate on treating the physical condition, they fail to see the underlying signs of depression that are cording the person emotionally.

Eventually, as the issue of depression and pain worsens, people suffering from chronic pain end up losing all hope, feel lonely, despondent, and contemplate suicide. Therefore, friends and family must devote time towards understanding the emotional aspect of the person, and take care to ensure that he or she does not slip into depression.

Some of the signs to look out for in persons suffering from chronic pain and depression include:

  • Inability to sleep, rest, and relax for extended periods of time.
  • Feeling frustrated and irritated most of the time.
  • Lack of interest in participating in social activities.
  • Constant bouts of uncontrollable crying.
  • Talking about dying, ending one’s life, etc.

If most of these symptoms last for beyond two to three weeks with no signs of reduction, one must exercise caution and consult a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help the person deal with the chronic pain by coming to terms with it.

Also, one must encourage him or her to consider alternative and natural treatment options like acupuncture, naturopathy, yoga, and herbal remedies to treat the chronic pain and depression, as well as the underlying condition responsible for the pain. A lot of people are finding relief from depression and pain by undergoing such treatment and remedies, and one must seriously study and consider these treatment modalities.

Besides the above, regular oil massages, steam, aromatherapy, detoxification, acupressure, etc, can also be administered to help release blocked energies within the person’s body and help the person relax and sleep well.

People suffering from cancers that are extremely painful sometimes request physician-assisted suicide, referred to as euthanasia, mainly because they are not able to go through the chronic pain and suffering and are not able to cope with the disease. In countries where the law permits euthanasia, some people opt for it.

It can therefore be seen that people suffering from chronic pain can become extremely depressed and often think about death to release them from the longstanding pain. This is one of the reasons why it is important to monitor people suffering from chronic pain and ensure that they do not take such drastic steps - it would be tragic if depression and pain turn into premature death.

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