Understanding the Psychological Impact of Living with Chronic Pain

When you think of the chronic pain you think of unbearable discomfort in a physical sense. Though it is true that someone suffering from chronic pain experiences a lot of bodily discomforts, they also go through something psychologically. When you’re forced to live with intense pain on a regular basis, it can essentially affect every aspect of your life. Whatever your condition or diagnosis, the pain cannot be treated and it begins to weigh on you heavily. The continual suffering can affect the way a person thinks, eats, sleeps, and even experiences life.

Living with Chronic Pain Changes Your Mood

It’s safe to say that if you had to live in severe pain that your mood would become altered. The discomfort and inability to do anything to truly treat the problem can result in emotional changes that include anxiety, depression, and even anger. A drastic change in mood or emotion often causes those suffering from chronic pain to abuse prescription medications like fentanyl. The idea is to reduce or eliminate the pain to elevate their mood. The only problem is the abuse of such powerful medications can lead to addiction and the need to find a safe and comfortable rehab to recover.

Living with Chronic Pain Changes Your Sleeping Patterns

When your level of pain is rated a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, getting a good night’s sleep is nearly impossible. Even if you manage to get to sleep, remaining sleep the entire time is highly unlikely as you’re experiencing such pain and discomfort. As sleep is imperative to your mental health, missing hours a day from a required 8-10 hours of rest can alter your emotions resulting in increased moodiness, depression, anxiety, and stress.

Living with Chronic Pain Affects Your Ability to Concentrate

Long-term chronic pain can eventually hinder your ability to concentrate. When your body is aching and relief isn’t instant, you become fixated on the pain – and nothing else. The discomfort can make it challenging for you to put your mind elsewhere making the debilitating feeling all you can think about. Thinking about the pain constantly, of course, can lead you to feel sad, frustrated, or emotionally overwhelmed.

How to Better Manage Chronic Pain

When you live with chronic pain, it alters your mood, emotions, mental processing, and sleeping patterns. The consistent impact on your brain can wreak havoc on your life leading to substance abuse, ruined relationships, lost careers, financial problems, isolation, and a ton of other things. You may not be able to get rid of the pain altogether, but there are management practices you can use to cope so that it doesn’t take over your life.

Choose the Right Medication (And Use as Prescribed)

Not every pain medication is going to work for every person or every condition. Depending on the reason for your chronic pain your doctor should work with you to find a prescription that is best suited for relief. Once you’ve determined the best medication for you, use it only as prescribed to avoid dependency or addiction.

Find Alternative Methods for Relieving Pain

Everyone has taken a pain pill to treat a condition and felt like it wasn’t working or it wore off too fast. As opposed to taking more pills and putting your health at greater risk, it is better to learn alternative methods for pain relief. Using hot and cold therapy, massages, acupuncture, and physical therapy stretch.

Use Supplements

Though taking medication too frequently can do more harm than good, there are herbal supplements that you can take to try and soothe your pain without the nasty side effects. For instance, Ashwagandha supplements are ideal for reducing inflammation (a common factor of pain) as well as improve your mood. Taking them as advised can give you relief in between your medication doses.

Stay Mobile

Believe it or not, the movement is actually recommended for relieving pain. If you’re hurting, getting up and moving around helps to soothe the pain. It prevents your muscles and joints from stiffening which can cause more pain. Get advice from your doctor on the type of physical activities you can participate in. Whether it’s simply stretching for a few minutes in your home, taking a brief walk around the block, or sweating it out in the gym, you’ll start to feel relief.

Who knew that being physically in pain could impact your emotional well-being? Living with chronic pain is life-altering in every way. It takes away your joy, deprives you of energy, and leaves you feeling hopeless. If you’re not coping well, it can easily lead to addiction, other health problems, familial issues, relationship trouble, the lack of a social life, and emotional distress. Use the above-mentioned tips to improve your life despite chronic pain.