Quite often patients suffering with long term “chronic” pain also suffer from depression.
Chronic pain is pain that lasts much longer than expected from the original problem or injury. When pain becomes chronic, the body may react in several ways:
- Chronic pain is characterized by abnormalities in brain neurotransmitters, low energy, mood disorders, muscle pain, as well as impaired mental and physical performance.
- Chronic pain worsens as neurochemical changes in the body increase sensitivity to pain.
- Often patients begin to experience pain in other parts of the body that do not normally hurt.
- Chronic pain may prevent patients from maintaining regular sleep habits, irregular sleep habits may result in an inability to reach deep sleep, daytime fatigue, less than desired productivity. This combination of pain and fatigue often results in depression.
Life with long-term “chronic” pain can be a tremendous burden to the patient, the families, friends, and even the co-workers.
When those suffering have to care for children or work full time, their chronic pain may make their lives seem too challenging. These overwhelming feelings can lead to irritability, depression, and even suicidal thoughts when they feel hopeless and that there is no relief is in sight.
If you have chronic pain and depression, you are not alone. Depression is one of the most common psychological issues facing people who suffer from chronic pain, and it often complicates the patient’s conditions and treatment.
Statistics to consider when dealing with chronic pain:
- According to the American Pain Foundation, about 32 million people in the U.S. report have had pain lasting longer than one year.
- More than one-quarter of the population complaining of chronic pain are also suffering from depression.
- On average, 65% of depressed people also complain of pain.
- People whose pain limits their independence are especially likely to get depressed.